Haitians at risk of de­por­ta­tion

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

The Ba­hamas, for decades, has made clear that its Haitian res­i­dents, es­pe­cially the un­doc­u­mented, are not wel­come. They are un­fairly stig­ma­tized, os­tra­cized and bad-mouthed. But this is the worst time for the coun­try to re­sume its iron-clad im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy of de­port­ing Haitians who have been liv­ing in the Ba­hamas il­le­gally.

In Septem­ber, af­ter Hur­ri­cane Do­rian brought ut­ter dev­as­ta­tion to Grand Ba­hama Is­land and Abaco Is­land, Prime Min­is­ter Hu­bert Min­nis de­clared that de­por­ta­tions would be sus­pended, a jus­ti­fied respite. Re­cently, though, he an­nounced they would re­sume.

Ob­vi­ously, the trauma of be­ing de­ported be­fore the hur­ri­cane to a dys­func­tional Haiti — rocked by cor­rup­tion, protests, an in­ef­fec­tual gov­ern­ment, a flum­moxed pres­i­dent, food scarcity, ram­pant un­em­ploy­ment and even tent cities still in­hab­ited al­most a decade af­ter the 2010 earthquake — pales in com­par­i­son to barely sur­viv­ing Do­rian’s deadly fe­roc­ity and then be­ing kicked out of the coun­try, per­haps still un­sure if rel­a­tives are dead in the de­bris or alive some­where.

De­por­ta­tions, no doubt, will re­sume. How­ever, it is par­tic­u­larly cruel to do so at this time. This is the same ar­gu­ment that the Ed­i­to­rial Board has made in rec­om­mend­ing U.S. pro­tec­tion of Haitians who fled here. (AP)

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