Hurricane Dorian slammed the Bahamas on Sept. 7 as a monsterous Category 5 storm, leaving 1,300 people unaccounted for as of Sept. 12 and nearly 76,000 individuals homeless.
As the Bahamas remain practically uninhabitable with a lack of food, clean water and shelter, many Bahamians are pleading to come to the United States until the island’s conditions improve. President Donald Trump, however, does not intend on allowing this to happen.
Trump, who is infamous for his immigration rhetoric, said “Everybody [Bahamians] needs totally proper documentation because the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there.”
Trump specified that every individual needs proper documentation before entering the United States. He said, “some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers” reside in the Bahamas and he fully intends to keep them out of the U.S.
According to the President, large sections of the Bahamas were not hit and many individuals are being transported to those areas for safety.
Florida Southern senior Mark Haver expressed his disappointment in Trump’s “un-American and unhumanitarian” decision against TPS.
“Is his distaste for nonwhite immigrants so strong that people who have nowhere else to go cannot come to the United States to fulfill the American Dream?” Haver said. “The Bahamas gave us $50,000 in foreign aid when we experienced Hurricane Katrina, and we will not even let them into our country after they were devastated by a hurricane? Disgusting and immoral.”
Trump’s statement comes shortly after the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, gave a press conference revealing that temporary protected status (TPS) is not out of the question. Morgan suggested that the United States has granted this special immigration status following environmental disasters.
Controversy began sparking on Sept. 8 when nearly 100 Bahamians evacuated to Florida on a high speed ferry. Cell phone footage reveals that upon arrival, individuals were told to disembark if they were not holders of a U.S. visa. Many were quick to blame the United States government for this incident, but Morgan blames the ferry company saying there was a miscommunication amongst governments and transportation companies.
Currently, 1,500 survivors reside in West Palm Beach, Florida after arriving on a Grand Celebrator humanitarian cruise. The Sandals Foundation and Royal Carribean, as well as celebrities including Justin Timberlake and Lenny Kravitz have made donations to hurricane relief organizations.
Locally, organizations on campus continue to show their love and support for the Bahamas.
“I love that organizations like Alpha Gamma Rho have had drives for supplies to send to the Bahamas,” Haver said. “I recommend people look into The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation, whose website gives suggestions on how to help and where donors can drop off supplies.”