Bahamas New xenophobic immigration rule toward foreigners and Haitians

According to U.S. anthropology professor Bertin Louis, the new policy on immigration that's to be effected by the Government of Bahamas from November 1. 2014, is clearly 'xenophobic' because it does not give any opportunity to claim asylum. Under the new immigration laws, the Government of The Bahamas will no longer accept any application of work visas from persons living in Bahamas illegally. In the middle of September, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Frederick Mitchell has said that persons without any legal status will not be permitted to work in Bahamas anymore and those intending to do so will be will be arrested, charged and deported. Any foreigner living in the Bahamas must have a valid passport of own home country. The children of the immigrants (with population around 370,000), if can confirm their legal status of residence, will be allowed to live, attend schools, and work in the islands.


According to an International Organization for Migration (IOM) study, 2013, around 50,000 Haitians live in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. A large stream of Haitian migrant arrived in the islands when Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was elected as the Haitian President, years ago in 1957. The migrant Haitians suffer discrimination and live a poor and disorganized life in the Bahamas. They are viewed by the Bahamians as a kind of 'disease' and public safety problem. In 1967, in a crackdown attempt by the Bahamas government, many undocumented Haitians were arrested and subsequently they were deported. However, the undocumented Haitians living in Bahamas prefer to remain quiet, not to revolt against the daily societal and institutional discrimination. Bertin M. Louis, Jr., Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee believes that they are unorganized, consider Bahamas as a station to U.S and do not want to create problems that may prevent their final and intended destination.

However, on September, 26, Minister Frederick has pledged in a memorandum of understanding with the IOM that the Bahamas would "manage its migration challenges effectively and humanely."

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