Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Fred Mitchell Questions Government’s Decision to Accept Deportees From U.S in COVID-19 Pandemic

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Opposition Chairman says there should be no exception to the rule

Opposition Chairman and Senator Fred Mitchell is responding to Attorney General Carl Bethel who recently said that the Bahamian borders will open to accept Bahamian citizens repatriated from the United States in wake of the COVID19 pandemic.

The Trump administration threatened to deport any unauthorized immigrants anywhere in the United States, and has since signed a memorandum to authorize sanctions against any country that doesn’t accept deportees from the U.S.

Mitchell said, “I note the announcement by the Attorney General confirming the government’s decision to accept Bahamian citizens, including convicted criminals, deported by the United States government back in The Bahamas even during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an exception to the policy which they announced that Bahamians cannot return home.”

Mitchell said the criminal deportees are being quarantined at taxpayer’s expense while “lawful citizens of the Bahamas like students and those temporarily visiting abroad who want to return home, are being refused entry by the Government for fear of the spread COVID-19.”

He questioned, “Why couldn’t the same provisions and conditions be put in place for them?

Bethel told a local daily that even though the borders are closed, the country must accept the deportees, which has occurred for many years, “even persons with the most tenuous connections to the Bahamas who only happen to have a Bahamian birth certificate.”

But Mitchell said the the Attorney General, “should not under any circumstances accept under this deportee programme of the United States people who are not citizens of The Bahamas and therefore have no right to repatriation here” as “the laws of The Bahamas do not confer citizenship at birth to someone born in The Bahamas unless their parents are Bahamian.”

“In law, those who have only a birth certificate but no other ties, especially parental ties to The Bahamas are not Bahamian citizens. We have no obligation to accept them,” he said.

Bethel said deportees will immediately face mandatory quarantine, which he said is a strict policy that will be applied.

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