Trump doesn't want to let in 'very bad people' fleeing the Bahamas into America after Hurricane Dorian
President Donald Trump, on Monday, September 9, said that Hurricane Dorian's survivors fleeing from the devastated Bahamas could include some "very bad people", and that caution needs to be taken while admitting survivors into the United States.
Dozens of people were reported dead and hundreds more missing in the islands after the Category 5 hurricane wreaked havoc in the archipelago a week ago. Nearly 70,000 people in the Bahamas have also been rendered homeless after the hurricane.
"We have to be very careful," he said. "Everyone needs totally proper documentation because the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas who weren't supposed to be there." The President made the statement while addressing reporters outside the White House before heading to a campaign rally in North Carolina.
Trump then asserted — without evidence — that the people fleeing the islands could include criminals. "I don't want to allow people who 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," he said, according to the Huffington Post.
The president's statement came just hours after the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, announced that the US is fast-tracking its immigration procedures to help process new arrivals from the Bahamas. However, he also pointed out that attention to security matters is essential.
"That doesn't mean we do this with a blind eye," Morgan said. "We still have to balance the humanitarian need and assistance of those who need it versus the safety of this country. So we still go through that process but we're expediting this process."
More than 100 Bahamians who traveled from hurricane-ravaged Freeport to Florida in a ferry on Sunday, September 8, were reportedly told to leave because they did not have visas. Reports stated that the Bahamians included "mothers with young children" who continue to remain stranded on the islands.
A journalist for Miami's Fox-affiliated WSVN-TV, Brian Entin, shared footage from the scene on Twitter, saying: "This is not normal." He added that people from the Bahamas can usually enter the US with a passport and a copy of their police record.
The rule, however, is true only for people traveling by air. People traveling by ship are required to present a visa, according to the CBP site. "Big problems on the ferry from Freeport to Florida — announcement just made that any Bahamian without a visa must now get off. This is not normal. Normally Bahamians can travel to the USA with a passport and a printout of their police record. This is a mess," Entin tweeted.