The Bahamas government says it will deport undocumented migrants who survived the passage of Hurricane Dorian on September 1 and are now living in shelters.
Immigration Minister, Elsworth Johnson, says the shelters will not be used “to circumvent the law.
“If you’re in a shelter and you’re undocumented and you’re not here in the right way, you’re still subject to deportation and the enforcement of the immigration laws,” Johnson told The Nassau Guardian newspaper.
“Most certainly, those shelters will not be used as a mechanism to circumvent the law. The government of The Bahamas fully appreciates that we are a country of laws. We’re governed by the rule of law.
“There’s an Immigration Act and the Immigration Act is in full effect and the director [of immigration] understands that he must enforce it,” he added.
The Category 5 storm, with winds in excess of 180 miles slammed into The Bahamas killing at least 56 people and causing widespread destruction mainly on Grand Bahama and Abacos islands.
The government-appointed coordinator of hurricane relief efforts in Abaco, Algernon Cargill, also warned undocumented migrants against any plans of returning to Abacos Islands.
“If you don’t have a purpose of being in Abaco, like to rebuild or relatives and you don’t have any legal status to be in The Bahamas, you should not go to Abaco.
Johnson said he has instructed the director and immigration officers “to protect the borders of country to enforce the immigration laws without “fear, favour or ill will.”