The Trump administration will not grant temporary protected status (TPS) to people evacuating from the Bahamas due to the near-total destruction left by Hurricane Dorian.
Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Monday that the Trump administration was considering whether to grant temporary protected status to people fleeing the Bahamas after the category 5 storm devastated two major islands there, Great Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Granting TPS would allow Bahamians to work and live in the U.S. until it is deemed safe for them to return home.
TPS status is currently granted to over 300,000 people living in the U.S. from 10 countries, including the victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, reports NBC News.
Bahamians can still come to the U.S. temporarily, if they have the right travel documents, but will not be granted work permits, NBC News adds.
The official death toll now stands at 50 and officials expect it to keep rising. Tens of thousands more are thought to be in need of food, water and medical help.
Trump on Monday claimed that the Bahamas is full of “very bad gang members” as he warned that the United States needs to be “careful” in allowing Bahamas evacuees to come to the states.
Trump suggested to reporters that dangerous individuals could sneak into the U.S. with those seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s near-total devastation.
“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be” in the Bahamas, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn at the White House.
“We have to be very careful. Everyone needs totally proper documentation. 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,” Trump said.
“Look, the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there,” he continued.
Without providing evidence to back his claim, he said the island nation had some “very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very very bad drug dealers”.
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