Published On: Mon, Dec 15th, 2014

Bahamas minister to address OAS on new immigration policy

mitchell_insulza2NASSAU, Bahamas -- Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell will address the Organization of American States (OAS) on The Bahamas government’s new immigration policy in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

He met with the secretary general of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, on Monday and was also due to meet with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) OAS caucus.

In a recent statement, Mitchell said Insulza was “ill-informed” when he referred to the Department of Immigration’s efforts to limit illegal immigration in The Bahamas as “roundups”.

According to a statement from Bahamas Information Services, “The new administrative measures being taken by the government of The Bahamas to strengthen the country’s immigration policy and eliminate fraud are expected to take center stage during these meetings.

“These administrative measures that took effect on November 1, 2014, have been the subject of much commentary both locally and internationally, much of which were based on misinformation.”

The government’s new immigration policy requires all non-Bahamians to have passports of their nationalities and evidence that they have permission to live and work in the country.

As part of the policy, the Department of Immigration will not issue certificates of identity to non nationals born in The Bahamas.

The department also will not accept first-time applications for residence or work permits from those who have no legal status in The Bahamas.

In recent weeks, several people have alleged mistreatment by immigration officers.

Mitchell said recently there is no evidence of abuse and the allegations are being investigated.

He said the government will not tolerate abuse of migrants and vowed that those who abuse detainees will suffer the consequences.

By Royston Jones Jr.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter 

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