Categorized | National News

Immigration Bill To Be Amended

Immigration Minister, Brent Symonette, revealed yesterday that an amendment to the Immigration Bill was scheduled to be presented to Cabinet yesterday for input and sent out for discussion.  

“On the agenda [yesterday] at Cabinet, we’ll be getting a presentation from Dame Anita Allen from the Law Reform, the amended Immigration Bill, has been presented to Cabinet.  We’ll discuss, [and] it’ll be sent out for discussion in short order after Cabinet.  

“This is purely for input purposes. There are issues in Immigration and we hope to get that out,” Mr. Symonette said. 

 His comments come after nearly 170 Haitian migrants have already been apprehended in Bahamian waters eight days into the new year. 

Mr. Symonette also alluded to the fact that the recent influx of migrants, particularly Haitian migrants is not unusual during this time of year. 

“Usually during the holiday periods, bad weather, they choose those times to come here. I think you’ve found that we’ve apprehended a number of them. 

“Certainly, the other day a flight with one hundred and some odd Haitians were repatriated.  

“They went before the courts and were found guilty and they were repatriated and so we are being very successful on that issue,” Mr. Symonette said. 

Mr. Symonette added that because of recent court cases regarding illegal migrants, those apprehended are immediately taken to court, charged and found guilty which gives them a criminal record. 

“Regrettably for some of the persons who earlier, took some very high-profile cases to the court, we are now taking them to court when they are found, when before we used to deport them, which now means all of those Haitian persons and others, that get deported have a criminal record. 

“Under my watch, to the best of my ability, no one will get a work permit that has a criminal record.  So  those persons have been put in a bad position because of the previous cases this year,” Mr. Symonette said. 

He added that  “the lawyers were quite right to bring them;  if they wanted to that’s their business,  but now persons will be prosecuted and will have criminal records”. 

Mr. Symonette said that these illegal migrants entering The Bahamas are not doing it alone. 

“There are people who live amongst us that are facilitating these people, and one thing the Immigration Act goes to deal with is harbouring of illegal immigrants. 

“I  ask the  Bahamian people, if you’re concerned about it, to report anyone that you realize is harbouring or facilitating these people being here and we will prosecute them accordingly, because they don’t just turnup,” Mr. Symonette said. 

Over 400 Haitian migrants were reportedly apprehended in 2018.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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