Feb. 17, 2020

POLL: Was the U.S. right to bar Bahamian evacuees from coming to America?


Hundreds of Bahamians trying to get to America to escape the devastation left behind by Hurricane Dorian were told they could not travel to the United States because they didn’t have a proper visa.

According to a report from CNN, Bahamian evacuees were previously allowed into the United States without visas. Furthermore, Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) website says a visa not required for Bahamian residents flying to the U.S. from the island if they met other criteria.

“That criteria include possessing a valid passport or travel documents, having no criminal record and carrying a police certificate issued within the past six months,” according to a report from The Hill.

Bahamians must first be screened by U.S. officials in the Bahamas if they plan to travel without a visa.

CBP says the problem stems from ferry operators, who “failed to coordinate the mission with authorities,” ABC News reports. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection says in a statement Monday that the agency requested that the company coordinate with U.S. and Bahamian governments before departing Freeport but it failed to do so.”

Responding to reporters Monday, President Donald J. Trump said that the United States needs to be “careful” and ensure that everyone entering the country from the Bahamas has proper documentation.

“Trump told reporters outside the White House that anyone seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Dorian ‘needs totally proper documentation.'”  CNN reports. “In particular, Trump expressed concern over ‘people going to the Bahamas who weren’t supposed to be there.’
“‘I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States including some very bad people,’ he added, referring specifically to gang members and drug dealers who fled to the islands.”

According to the CBP, 857 properly screened Bahamians arrived in Florida “without incident” on a cruise ship Saturday.

Still, some Americans were outraged by the administration’s stance, tweeting that stopping the refugees was “shameful,” “unconscionable and evil.”

We ask you: Do you agree that this was a “shameful” decision, or do you back the administration and its call for caution and procedure?

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