Jetta Baptiste, Bahamas immigration policies criminalized persons of Haitian descent

Following closely in the footsteps of the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas recently issued a new immigration policy that would make criminals of hundreds of Haitians who live and work in their country. As a result of this decision, activists have mobilized and joined voices in protest of the new regime.


The Bahamian government followed up their new ruling by performing immigration raids throughout the New Providence area, resulting in the apprehension of over 70 people, a number which is said to include an un-told amount of children. This news has sparked great controversy, seeing as some of these persons were in the process of being naturalized, and some of the children were born in the country, though their parents were illegal residents.

President of the Haitian Bahamian Society of the Bahamas, Jetta Baptiste, described her view that the government was willfully creating illegal immigrants, and had not learned from mistakes in the past. She said they were deporting individuals who were born in the Bahamas who simply didn't have the proper documentation to legitimize their status in the country. Added to that charge is one of the popular talk show host Louby Georges, who puts forward that the government is, indeed, apprehending children who are being arrested and used to bait their illegal parents.

The issue has also come up that this eventuality could have been averted had the Bahamian government signed the proposed treaty in 1985 that would have naturalized hundreds of Haitians who are now in limbo along with their children.

The new policy was announced on September 17.

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