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a141: Bahamas--Repatriation of illegal immigrants (fwd)

From: Daniel Schweissing <dan_schweissing@hotmail.com>

Repatriations of illegal immigrants

Released Monday, December 31, 2001 at 01:11 am EST by Llonella Gilbert

Illegal immigration a strain on resources

As The Bahamas closes out this year, Bahamians are learning from the 
Department of Immigration statistics discouraging news that as of the end of 
November, 969 more illegal immigrants were repatriated than last year's 

What makes this such a sad state of affairs and which may sound to some to 
be a cliché, is that many illegal immigrants are fleeing their home 
countries for a better way of life, but in the process many of them die or 
are sent right back where they originate from. Some of these immigrants 
include: Americans, Chinese, Cubans, Kenyans, Dominicans, South Africans, 
Turks, Bangladeshis, Nigerians, Nicaraguans, Jamaicans, Colombians, 
Uzbekistanis, and Haitians.

However, the bulk of the illegal immigrants come from Haiti. Along with its 
long-struggling economy, Haiti has also seen an exacerbation of gang-related 
activities focused on overthrowing the government of President Jean 
Aristide. In this regard, about two weeks ago, reports from The Bahamas 
Embassy in Port-au-Prince and from the Office of the Secretary General of 
the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., indicated that both 
the Presidential Palace and the private residence of Aristide came under 
attack by a band of commandos.

As much as Bahamians may feel sorry for those illegal immigrants coming to 
our shores or using our waters in transit to the US, Bahamians are still 
annoyed and upset at having to fit the bill to expatriate so many 
immigrants. For the first three months of this year alone, the Ministry of 
Immigration reported, The Bahamas spent approximately $422,000 repatriating 
over 2,000 illegal immigrants. And according to officials at the Detention 
Centre, The Bahamas spends about $5 to $7 a day to house and feed each 
illegal immigrant who is detained. Those being detained at the Centre 
include persons who were smuggled into the country or were caught on their 
way to the US and persons who have overstayed their visiting privileges.

However, Bahamians can expect their hard earned dollars to continue going 
toward the expatriation of illegal immigrants as long as countries like 
Haiti continue to have political unrest and severe poverty.

There are also many Bahamians who are angry at having illegal immigrants 
making use of the country's already limited resources. The Bahamian and 
legal immigrant population is already putting a strain on resources, so it 
is virtually impossible for The Bahamas to take in unfortunate illegal 

Nevertheless, the government and people of The Bahamas should remain a 
member of those organizations that can help to improve the conditions of 
poor and politically violent countries. This may be the only way to ensure 
that illegal immigrants place less strain on the Bahamas' resources and find 
a better way for themselves.

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