Categorized | National News

Mitchell: Number of Illegal Immigrants Decreased–“Immigration Policy Successful”

Minister of Immigration and Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell confirmed that there has been a decrease in the number of illegal immigrants being smuggled into the country.

In the House of Assembly yesterday morning, while discussing the Immigration Amendment Bill, Minister Mitchell said the recently implemented immigration policy has a lot to do with the now low number of immigrants seeking to enter the country via dinghies.

“Since the new administrative measures were introduced on the first of November, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of boats being interdicted at sea,” he said.

“I believe most people would remember the last incident that happened back on Christmas Day when 119 people arrived here from North Haiti. But since that time, we have not had many of those mass interdictions at sea. So whether it’s the weather, our policies, or good fortune, the fact is we believe the psychological climate has changed by sending out a signal to those boats by saying, ‘do not come because we are serious about sending you back home.’ ”

Minister Mitchell said clearly, the message is being sent to illegal immigrants that The Bahamas ‘means business’. He said although many people seem pitiful towards immigrants who are detained, he believes the travelling process by which they arrive here is a ‘lucrative criminal business’.

“Evidence suggests that people are paying between $1,500 and $5,000 ahead for these journeys,” he said.

“So while people are being portrayed as poor victims, this appears to be a sophisticated criminal enterprise which is designed for money making and these immigration policies are interrupting that enterprise.”

The minister said despite false claims made by many national and international enemies about cruelty regarding the treatment of detainees, he knows that the policies are working.

“I said in the early stages of this that we would make the serious mistake of going soft and getting wobbly if we had blinked,” he said.

“We as a people and the immigration policy are successful because we did not blink. We did not bend.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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