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‘There needs to be clarity’: Visa troubles for Bahamians nettle Rick Scott

“We cannot have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport.”

Last week, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott petitioned President Donald Trump to allow Bahamians with visas and families stateside to come to the United States.

However, movement on that front has been slow for those islanders seeking economic opportunity in the wake of Hurricane Dorian devastation.

On Monday, Scott redoubled his ask, urging visa waivers, while pointing out the immediate need to ensure Bahamians’ safe transit.

“It’s important Customs and Border Protection and the Bahamian government work together to clarify the current rules regarding visas in the Bahamas,” he said.

“As hundreds of thousands of Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian,” Scott added, “we cannot have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport.”

He went on: “Senator Rubio and I continue to urge President Trump to waive some visa requirements for those in the Bahamas that have family in the United States. But until that happens, there needs to be clarity on the current rules.”

Scott also wants Customs and Border Protection to work with the Bahamian government to set up a temporary site at their ports of entry: “Professionals should be on site to help the many Bahamians trying to leave destruction,” Scott said.

Florida’s junior Senator talked with the President in recent days about proposals to help the Bahamas.

Scott’s proposal has bipartisan backing, as witnessed by members of Congress pushing last Friday for waivers of visa requirements.

On Monday, Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, urged to “waive visa requirements and grant temporary protected status immediately to Bahamian evacuees so they can get recoup and to reduce the strain on recovery efforts underway.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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