Categorized | National News

Mitchell: Public Education Needed On Immigration Woes

A little more than two weeks since the ultimatum given by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and the enforcement of immigration law, former Minister of Immigration, Fred Mitchell said that anything that deals with the vexing issue of immigrants is a step in the right direction.  However, he calls the recent moves by the administration laughable.

“Anything that can deal with this very vexing issue is a step in the right direction.

“The issue must however, be addressed comprehensively and not in isolation,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Speaking with this Journal on the recent remarks by Attorney General, Carl Bethel, on the Inter-Ministerial  Committee that would be formed to address shanty towns, Mr. Mitchell said that idea is nothing new, but believes that emphasis by this administration should be on public education.

“The question of them being aggressive with this immigration (problem)  is laughable, it is completely laughable;  they didn’t invent the wheel. On the 1st of November 2014,  the Progressive Liberal Party administration announced that everyone in this country had to have an identity document on them because there was going to be strict enforcement of the rules.

“That never stopped,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Mr. Mitchell said that public education on the immigration issue is critical, especially when addressing the labour market.

“There seems to me to be a need right now for public education because I don’t think that this public accepts that migration is as severe a problem or unlawful or irregular migration is as severe a problem as it really is.

“And I think that the government needs to engage a greater public education of how,  for example the labour market is undercut by this and secondly how health, public health, is adversely affected by this.

“So, it’s not so much to me what the enforcement people do. Right now we need the assistance of the public to get on top of this problem.

“It’s the public that’s hiring people and undercutting the labour market. It’s the public that’s renting housing; It’s the Bahamian public that’s driving the illegal migration in the sense that there obviously must be cooperation and collusion on this end;  for these people to make it all the way up from Haiti into this island without being stopped or interdicted,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Mr. Mitchell said although the FNM government is attempting to address the problem, he also believes that they have slackened efforts.

“If anything, this administration has slackened enforcement by allowing people into the schools without proper identification and without proper status in the country and that we disagree with.

“Our view is that there ought to be strict enforcement of the immigration laws…and this pandering to various groups should not obtain,” he said.

Mr. Mitchell agreed however, that there is much left to be done with regard to the illegal immigration problem.

“There is a lot of work that remains to be done.

“We will monitor what this committee is doing; hopefully some of our members will be engaged if there are public discussion on this to see what we can do to help and assist.

“It’s a very expensive business and its going to be very troubling when you actually move to remove these shanty towns which they should,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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