Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday dismissed calls from human rights attorney Fred Smith, QC, to allow undocumented migrants who enter The Bahamas illegally to work in the country, suggesting that it could have national security implications.
“For this country that is not a policy that I would be recommending,” Davis said.
“We do not have an open door policy. There are a number of international treaties that we are partied to that [deal] with the question of irregular migration, and that is part of our obligations internationally and there are some domestic laws that [deal] with irregular migration and I think those laws and the treaties which we are parties to should rule the day.”
Last week, Smith, who was at an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) hearing on the treatment of migrants in The Bahamas, urged the Bahamian government to consider allowing undocumented migrants to live in communities and work instead of detaining them.
Asked if he believed Smith’s proposal would threaten national security, Davis said, “You cannot discount that. I said you cannot discount it because…the history has shown that it has become a threat to national security and it cannot be discounted.”
He said too many Bahamians are already grappling with unemployment and “are now leaving in droves to find work elsewhere”.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said Smith’s proposal is “not reasonable”.
The hearing took place on Friday at the 172nd session of the IACHR in Kingston, Jamaica.
The request for the hearing was filed by Rights Bahamas in conjunction with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice