January 18, 2010
NASSAU, Bahamas - Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he was surprised that some Bahamians have protested the decision to release 93 Haitians while Haiti recovers from a massive earthquake.
Prime Minister Ingraham said it would be "unthinkable" not to release the detainees when Haiti is obviously in no position to accept repatriated citizens.
Responding to media questions last Saturday, the Prime Minister said the status is temporary and will be reviewed in six months.
On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted temporary status to Haitians who were in the United States on or before January 12, 2010. The status will allow them to live and work in America for the next 18 months.
Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano said in a statement: "Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery."
Many of the 93 Haitians released had been in The Bahamas for many years, he said.
"They are expected to report in at the end of three months. I am not suggesting that we have any great confidence that they will, but that is the deal that has been offered to them by the Department of Immigration and we will review it at the end of six months," Ingraham told reporters.
"We have all the particulars on them, and when things would have changed in Haiti, if they are found in The Bahamas and they don’t have status, they will be dealt with in the normal way."
Despite the risks, the Prime Minister had harsh words for critics of the decision.
"This Christian society of ours where most households have televisions, they are able to see what is happening in Haiti, and I can’t imagine hypocrites going to church on Sunday morning and then saying on the radio and on the newspapers and in their hearts, that we ought to detain and keep these people and send them back to Haiti."
News date : 01/18/2010 Category : World News