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The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice in response to the Trump administration’s denial of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Bahamians in the devastating wake of Hurricane Dorian:
As Bahamians deal with the aftermath of Dorian’s terror and destruction, President Trump has once again chosen to magnify their pain in pursuit of his anti-immigrant agenda.
Hurricane Dorian is recorded as one of, if not the, strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the Atlantic. It brought about unspeakable destruction, thousands of Bahamians have been displaced, the death toll continues to rise and the number of missing persons is now over 2,500.
The truth is residents face an uphill battle to simply survive in the wake of the deadly hurricane. The United States has historically played a key role in providing refuge to vulnerable people, and there are deep, historical ties between the Bahamas and the United States, especially in the State of Florida.
TPS for Bahamians would temporarily prevent the U.S. from deporting Bahamians already living in the United States, giving them a way to work here until their islands are capable of receiving them in the future. At this moment of crisis, stability for immigrants from the Bahamas in the United States is a small, but critical step available to President Trump, but his knee-jerk opposition to immigrants, especially people of color, is preventing him from making a wise decision on behalf of the American people and our neighbors in the Bahamas. Labeling immigrants from the Bahamas as drug-dealers, gang-members, and threats to America is pure presidential fiction, but his desire to demonize immigrants inhibits Trump’s ability to make rational decisions about matters related to immigration, even in a time of crisis for the Bahamas.
As death counts continue to rise, and pictures of destruction and heartache haunt our front pages, we urge this administration to grant TPS to Bahamians.