New York Times Article On Immigration Rules Foreign Affairs Responds

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viagra generic doctor times;”>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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The following statement was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration:


The Bahamas finds it necessary to respond to misinformation about its administrative measures designed to strengthen its immigration laws and protect it against fraud. The latest is a front page story published in the New York Times (NYT) on Saturday, 31st January 2015.


The NYT article contains inaccuracies and tendentious material based in part on the exaggerated and unfounded accusations of civic activists.


Frist, the caption to the photo purportedly showing two children in The Bahamas who were born to non-Bahamian parents gives the impression that the citizenship of their parents which they take at birth is as a result of a new policy.  This is not so. The 1973 Bahamas Independence Constitution clearly states that as at 10th July 1973 (the date of our independence) persons born in The Bahamas to parents who are non-Bahamians are not Bahamians and must take on the citizenship of their parents. The constitution further states that upon their 18th birthday (but before their 19th birthday) they are eligible to apply for Bahamian citizenship but only an entitlement to apply.  It does not confer an immigration status upon them.  They therefore require a residency permit or work permit. 

Citizenship is therefore not a new policy and has nothing to do with the new administrative measures that took effect on the 1stNovember 2014.


Secondly, what is happening with Immigration in The Bahamas is not the same as what is happening in the Dominican Republic.  That is an inconvenient truth but the truth nonetheless.  No one’s right to citizenship or citizenship is being taken away ex post facto in The Bahamas.   Bringing the issue of the Dominican Republic appears calculated to poison the well.

Thirdly, the assertion in the story that “immigration agents knocked down the door and took away the children” is untrue.  There is no evidence to support that assertion. This assertion appears based on a false portrayal in a video circulated on social media that has been widely discredited because it tells only half the story. This was pointed out to the writer of the article by the Immigration Minister.


Fourthly, the permit requirement for a non-Bahamian student in The Bahamas is not a novel idea.  Thousands of people hold those permits today. All countries require non-nationals to secure a visa or the equivalent as evidence of permission to live and study in their respective countries

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. That has always been the policy of The Bahamas and what is done in The Bahamas is not unusual.

The United States, for example, requires Bahamian students to apply for a visa to study in the United States at a reported cost of US $160.00.  Some Bahamian students have been deported and subsequently banned from re-entering the United States for non-compliance. On this score the New York Times should not employ a double standard.

Fifthly, the assertion that a woman gave birth to a child on the detention centre floor only tells half the story.  The full story discredits those who purveyed that story because it becomes clear that often events are staged to provoke a particular response. Victimhood is often a practiced art.

All The Bahamas asks is for the international press not to accept and parrot uncritically what it is told and accept it at face value.  Often the stories told are exaggerated, outright false and many times self-serving.

The government of The Bahamas respects the prevalence of the rule of law; it is not the policy of the government to violate the rights of any individual and at all material times this country will act in a manner consonant with its international obligations toward children and the stateless. We make no apology, however, for enforcing the laws and protecting its borders in the national interest and in the interests of the Bahamian people.