Published: Tue, September 10, 2019

Trump claims Bahamians need 'totally proper documentation' to enter US

President Donald Trump defended on Monday the policy requiring Bahamian evacuees to have US visas by claiming without evidence that "gang members" and "drug dealers" were trying to get into the country with the evacuees.

Even then, Silva said that while the agency has stressed that shipping companies and airlines assisting Bahamians evacuating should ensure that evacuees have the proper documents, the agency would have found a way to process those who are now left behind, if they had made it to a US port.

Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, said the ferry incident was a mistake and the result of "some confusion".

"We have to be very careful", Trump said, to not allow "some very bad people and very bad gang members" in from the Bahamas, which is dealing with the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian.

A road cuts through the rubble of homes that belong to the same family, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Rocky Creek East End, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019.

Evacuees had initially been told they needed to bring their Bahamian passports and "police record", a paper from authorities verifying they had no criminal record.

"Look, the Bahamas has some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren't supposed to be there", Mr Trump said.

He also wrote on Twitter, "The boat w/ Bahamians being turned away because they have no visas is why we must suspend the requirements for certain ppl, especially those who have families here". Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have been demanding that the Trump administration waive visa requirements for Bahamian citizens fleeing the devastation. But those with such documentation were asked to get off the Balearia after the passenger manifest was submitted to the U.S. federal agency on Sunday night, according to some of the crew, because they said the United States would not accept them.

Authorities in the Bahamas have updated the death toll from Hurricane Dorian to 45, one week after the storm battered the archipelago. "However, Balearia (the ferry operator) did not do that", Mr Silva told CNN.

U.S. Customs said they informed the ferry company they'd have to take evacuees to Nassau to get their visa before entering the United States.

Members of the Gainesville, Florida, fire department were checking the ruins of The Mudd, the Bahamas' largest Haitian immigrant community on Great Abaco. Immigration officers at points of entry, he said, had discretion "to issue humanitarian or medical parole on a case-by-case basis".

Russell said good Samaritans had taken her and a group of people into their home over the weekend and found them a hotel room in Nassau for a couple of days. "All of the evacuees possessed valid travel documents". "But instead of welcoming them with open arms and offering support, we're sending them back to an island with little shelter, no food, and no access to basic necessities".

But a few hours later, President Trump appeared to contradict Morgan.

"As the climate crisis makes storms like Dorian stronger and deadlier, will we build bigger walls and keep polluting and making the crisis worse, or will we give the most vulnerable a safe haven in their time of most dire need and commit ourselves to tackling this crisis?" added Prakash. When it was pointed out to the spokesperson that visas were not required, the spokesperson clarified that they would only need to stop in Nassau to apply for admission, confirming that visas were not necessary.

"As hundreds of thousands of Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian, we can not have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport". "We lost a lot of old pictures".

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