Categorized | National News

Mitchell Wants Immigration Reform

Former Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell says a lot of reform must take place within the immigration ministry.

The PLP senator speaking on the Love 97 Radio show “On Point,” said having 20 people in a department to sort through thousands of applications is unrealistic.

He hopes that the new border management system solves that problem.

Making comments in the wake of the highly controversial case of Jean Rony Jean Charles, Senator Mitchell said he would be very surprised if people who have valid applications into the department of immigration are repatriated to a country they don’t know, as that is certainly not the policy.

Speaking on applications and the entire process, Mr. Mitchell said this should be done differently.

“My belief, and I could not get the cabinet to do it, is that the way this ought to work is the minister simply makes the decision and if the minister makes the decision, I think you would have no backlog,” Mitchell said.

Comparing the difference in American non-nationals and other non-nationals, Mr. Mitchell says he does not understand why persons would refrain from applying for- at the very least -a residency permit, then in turn want to play victim when matters such as the Jean Rony case arise.

He further stressed that among the many challenges the immigration department faces is that of those who do not apply for citizenship despite having lived in the Bahamas all their lives.

“The more problematic area is this area of people who have sat in this country, refused to apply for citizenship, have no documents, don’t have residency permits or nothing; they just sit here and then they make you feel that they’re victims when you say you can’t produce a document therefore you have to go home.

” Unfortunately that is hard law, but it seems to me that the consequences of not enforcing it is to continue to invite people to come here and do the same thing.

” That is why in our view this is important to prosecute to the highest court and to amend the law to clarify that bit,” Mitchell said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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