Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration
to have been some confusion relative to comments I made in an interview
with the media on Wednesday, 25 August, as to the time frame for the
resumption of apprehension exercises of illegal immigrants from the
Republic of Haiti or any other country.
On 16 August,
I issued a statement noting: “Persons who are found to be in The
Bahamas illegally will be repatriated forthwith.” In the interest
of allowing illegal immigrants who wished to leave immediately and voluntarily
to do so, the Government has allowed for a brief period of voluntary
will end on 31 August, 2010. Apprehension exercises will resume
as of 1 September, 2010, consistent with my statement of 16 August relative
to the resumption of such exercises:
to the recent heightened infringement of Bahamas Immigration Law, notice
is hereby given that with immediate effect, all illegal immigrants are
requested to leave The Bahamas voluntarily.
who are here illegally are in contravention of the laws of The Bahamas,
and are advised to return to their country of origin or be subject to
apprehension and deportation.”
of 16 August reminded the general public of the Government’s long-standing
policy with respect to illegal entry into The Bahamas. I also
wish to recall the humanitarian decision of The Bahamas in suspending
for a short period both apprehension and repatriation exercises following
the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January of this year.
has resumed repatriation exercises for illegal immigrants from Haiti.
Over the past 6 months 772 Haitian and 183 Jamaican nationals have been
repatriated to the Republic of Haiti and Jamaica.
of both apprehension and repatriation exercises are critical elements
in the Government’s comprehensive immigration policy. This includes
deterring illegal immigrants, irrespective of country of origin, from
seeking to enter The Bahamas illegally.