Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
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How do we solve our immigration issues?

Dear Editor,

Conditions reportedly remain so bad in Haiti that the UN asked several countries, The Bahamas included, if they would stop sending illegal Haitian immigrants back home for a while.

Apparently, The Bahamas government’s position is to continue with repatriation efforts until further consultation with Haitian officials.

Every time an issue with Haitian’s comes up it reminds us all how lackadaisical we’ve been over the years with finding a permanent solution.

It seems impossible to prevent illegal landings with our limited resources. And our vast area of open water doesn’t help. It’s easy enough for interceptor vessels to pass sloops and other boats with loads of people looking for a better life entering our territorial waters without seeing each other out there.

So we have two problems. Illegal immigrants arriving on a daily basis and those many Haitian’s who have lived here, and in many instances, contributed to our country who have no status.

Now comes the hard part. How do we solve these issues?

It’s very easy to say we’ll stop the boats coming here. But how realistic is that? It seems we have to do a more effective and consistent job of “rounding the recent entrants up” and sending them back. And this is also easier said than done.

The immigration department can circulate photos of their “raids” every day, but details of the entire process and its effectiveness is what’s important. Not press releases.

With regard to those illegal Haitians who have been here for generations we must consider giving them status and property rights of some sort. And they do not have to have the right to vote initially.

We were fortunate to be born in a relatively rich country where opportunity is available for advancement as a general rule.

At least the majority of our poor population still seem to live better than most of Haiti’s population. So somehow, we have to get past the emotions of this subject, even if only for a short while to arrive at some useful positions to move this issue from the stalemate it has become.

So here are a few recommendations as thought starters:

Policing of illegal immigrants who are here must be improved.

Legalize the status of many of the Haitians who have been here for generations.

Provide property rights for the squatters and, figure out how to phase their status in so they can eventually become full citizens or leave voluntarily.


Rick Lowe

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