Hurricane Dorian may have dissipated by now, but millions of people are still feeling the effects of its aftermath, especially people of the Bahamas, where Dorian killed 50 and left rampant destruction in its wake. Thousands still remain missing.
Bahamian refugees fleeing the destruction were forced to exit a boat heading to the United States this past weekend, after a sudden rule change demanded that they have visas in order to travel to the U.S. Because people of the Bahamas are our neighbors, an I.D. and a copy of their police record has been sufficient documentation for years.
Nevertheless, hundreds of the refugees without visas were forced to stay on the island despite the destruction of their homes. Footage and interviews captured by reporter Brian Entin soon went viral, leaving the White House and Customs and Border Protection flooded with questions on how the rule change came to be.
CBP denies any culpability in the sudden shift.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, while speaking to reporters, endorsed the change with rhetoric that’s gotten all too painfully familiar.
Trump defends prohibiting some people from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas from entering the United States because he doesn’t want “very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very very bad drug dealers” here. pic.twitter.com/BL7q93xtfD
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 9, 2019
Trump said of the refugees:
“Look, the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there…I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.”
Trump insisted that many parts of the Bahamas were not hit, and warned that the United States would’ve only brought Bahamians unaffected by the hurricane. He didn’t elaborate on how he had any way of knowing this.
Trump’s rhetoric echoes with the kind employed in his infamous campaign announcement speech back in 2015, where he said of Mexican immigrants:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump has repeatedly sowed fear of immigrants fleeing danger and refugees fleeing disaster. People are pretty sure they know why.
Go ahead, Donny Boy – say it out loud. They're not white. The people coming from the Bahamas have dark skin and #PresidentMiller has decreed them undesirables. You're just doing what the boss ordered.
— ResistTrump (@gabyzee) September 9, 2019
Translation: "they have brown skin"
— Shay (@realdivipro) September 9, 2019
Of course. Especially if they don't have the correct skin pigmentation.
— GeneAg2 (@Gene2459) September 9, 2019
Bet if they were Scandinavian he wouldn't complain at all
— Le Coquin (@MakiaVlo) September 9, 2019
The decision left many incensed and disappointed.
So much for the moral leadership of the United States.
There was a time when even our enemies had to admit that the United States was the first there for others in times of crisis.
Not in the nationalistic xenophobic Trump administration. Fear and hatred rules.
— Notta Hare (@DahBunnynoze) September 9, 2019
careful of what??? Honest to God, is there a single solitary ounce of compassion in this man??
— Katy did (@KathyHurley) September 9, 2019
Ah, here we go. The good Christians stepping forward again. I am sure all those poor people sat clutching their legal papers in the ruins because they knew if they were rescued and sent to the US, trump wouldn’t let them in unless they produced them. Sickening!
— Jodie Gordon (@redgrow) September 9, 2019
Trump didn’t provide further information on the sudden policy change.
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