It’s not hard to believe, but President Donald Trump is again showing his troubling stance on entry into the United States for immigrants in need.
According to reports, anyone seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which has devastated the Bahamas, “needs total proper documentation.”
He said he didn’t want people who were supposed to be in the Bahamas in the first place to come into the U.S., “including some very bad people.” He specifically mentioned gang members and drug dealers who had fled to the Bahamas.
The acting head of Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, had said otherwise the same day as Trump.
“If your life is in jeopardy and you’re in the Bahamas and you want to get to the United States, you’re going to be allowed to come to the United States, whether you have travel documents or not,” he reportedly said during a press briefing at the White House.
On Sept. 8, over 100 people trying to evacuate were thrown off a ferry headed to Florida, as the boat operator said only those with U.S. visas could remain.
National security should always be a top concern, but denying admission to people from the Bahamas—only 50 miles away—is especially cruel.
The hurricane has killed over 40 people and left over 70,000 people homeless.
Morgan said he thought it “would be appropriate” to talk to Trump about Temporary Protected Status to residents of the Bahamas affected by the hurricane.
That is a good start.
Such status was given to Haiti on Jan. 21, 2010, nine days after an earthquake devastated it, as well as to El Salvador in 2001 after earthquakes struck the Central American country. Nepal received that status in 2015 after an earthquake, as did Honduras and Nicaragua in the 1990s after a hurricane.
Trump’s office has reportedly tried to take away deportation restrictions from people from those countries, although the courts have blocked his efforts.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, of Florida, recently wrote a letter to Trump asking him to suspend some visa requirements for Bahamas residents who have relatives in the U.S.
That’s also a good start for helping victims.
The president needs to get moving to help these people living a short distance away from the U.S.