Categorized | National News

Minister Highlights Inagua’s Immigration Issues

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that Inagua is plagued with an immigration problem, which officials hope to curb soon.

“In Matthew Town there are particular problems,” he said.

“People coming on these slopes from Haiti or they come in on a seaman’s visa or business visa then solicit jobs and go into the public dump and move things without permission.

“All of these things require permission from the authorities. I want to remind the public that those defense force immigration and customs officers all have the same power of an immigration officer.”

Minister Mitchell further noted that all of these regulations in place can only be successful if citizens support the immigration official’s efforts.

Just yesterday morning, nearly 120 Haitian migrants were apprehended.

Defense Force officers were on routine patrol in the southern Bahamas when they boarded and searched a 40-ft white cabin cruiser approximately 61 nautical miles northwest of Matthew Town, Inagua.

A thorough search of the vessel revealed 117 illegal Haitians, 96 males, 17 females and four children.

This latest apprehension increases the number of Haitian migrants apprehended in Bahamian waters in less than two weeks to 190.

The minister also said this has been an issue for some time though especially on the island of Inagua.

“The first warning came about Abaco and now the second is Inagua,” Minister Mitchell said.

“This is following several days of meetings and interventions in those communities to try and clamp down on what appears to be the casual disregard for the immigration laws. People are complaining that people seem to just be walking off boats and working without getting permits.”

The warning follows a statement issued just this past weekend stressing the Department of Immigration’s zero tolerance to the issue.

Officials say a fine of $10,000 and up to five years jail time is the consequence for any person found to be illegally hiring foreigners in the country.

Both the employee and employer are liable to receive penalties.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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