Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson said the Department of Immigration must do more to apprehend Bahamians who harbor illegal immigrants.
“We have not brought anybody into custody for harboring,” he said outside Cabinet.
“This is not a matter of recent vintage, and persons, they just do not miraculously appear in The Bahamas. So, I’m speaking with the immigration department because we know that there are persons who are giving shelter and we’re going to deal with those persons.
“…I want to say to the immigration department, we need more persons to be apprehended, especially when they can’t give a reasonable account as to why they have persons living with them or working for them.”
Johnson added, “If an economic migrant can come in, what prevents a terrorist?”
Over the weekend, the Department of Immigration launched an island-wide operation on Andros in search of illegal immigrants.
In a statement, the department said the exercise, named “Operation Chickcharney”, was “in direct response to recent complaints of increased sightings of suspected illegal migrants on the island of Andros”.
“The purpose of the operation was to investigate and where necessary take the necessary action against any illegal migrant/s found, regardless of one’s ethnicity,” it said.
“We have reaped some success as we continue our operations.”
Speaking on the matter yesterday, Johnson said those exercises will be ongoing.
“To the extent of when our intelligence tells us that there are persons who may be anywhere in The Bahamas, we mount an effort to go and see how best we can deal with the situation in a humane manner,” he said.
“This weekend we had cause to put together a team of immigration officers, police officers, and defense force officers to go into Andros to do an island-wide sweep.
“Those types of operations will be ongoing, not just in Nassau, but in any of the islands.”