Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday declared that undocumented migrants will not be allowed in the temporary housing established on Abaco for storm victims following Hurricane Dorian.
“There will be no illegals in the domes, full stop,” Minnis told reporters during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister.
In recent weeks, the government has faced backlash after announcing its intention to enforce immigration laws and deport undocumented migrants, even those impacted by Dorian.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the government announced that the repatriation of storm victims, who are undocumented migrants, was on hold.
Some storm victims, who are migrants, have told The Nassau Guardian that they fear immigration raids and deportation at hurricane shelters.
A United Nations’ immigration report reportedly notes that some 600 evacuees left shelters out of fear last month, according to Buzzfeed News.
Addressing these claims yesterday, Minnis said, “I cannot say how many people have [fled] the shelters. What I can say is many individuals would’ve identified family members here within New Providence and were subsequently moved out with family or subsequently shacking with family.”
Dorian – the strongest hurricane on record to hit The Bahamas – decimated parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September.
The Category 5 storm left thousands displaced, hundreds missing and at least 67 dead.
Last month, the prime minister said the temporary housing, which are dome-like structures, is expected to cost about $6.4 million, noting that the domes will be in place for at least three years.
The government intends to establish 250 domes on Abaco.
Yesterday, Minnis noted that 125 of those domes will be at the government’s Family Relief Center near Spring City.
“Each dome can accommodate up to five people,” he said.
“The site has been inspected by the Water and Sewerage Corporation to ensure that well fields are not impacted. Domes will sit on secure foundations which will be constructed by local labor.
“The remaining 125 domes will be made available for local residents in Abaco, who are restoring, and or repairing, their homes.”
Minnis added, “A significant part of the recovery effort is the establishment of a temporary housing facility so that residents and business owners have a safe and secure place to stay while they rebuild and repair their homes and properties.”
The first 40 domes are expected to arrive in mid-November, according to the prime minister.
Last week, John Michael Clarke, who is the co-chairman of the Reconstruction Committee, said the domes are being erected by the Brickell Management Group.