The amorphous threat posed by foreign gangs has always loomed large in Donald Trump’s mind and has been used by the president as a justification for his draconian immigration policies. These famously include separating families at the border and, of course, his Quixotic mission to Build The Wall.
But Trump has now gone beyond discriminating against those fleeing violence and poverty and is apparently cracking down on refugees fleeing natural disasters, which currently includes residents of the Bahamas who are fleeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.
Pres. Trump on hurricane survivors trying to leave the Bahamas: "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." pic.twitter.com/NK66ftrC6o— ABC News (@ABC) September 9, 2019
In one of his off-the-cuff helicopter-side news conferences on Monday Trump defended restricting travel from the Bahamas by rambling about the dangers of “very bad people” including gang members potentially entering the US from the Bahamas, without providing any evidence of an actual threat. Trump said:
“We have to be very careful. Everybody needs totally proper documentation because the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there. I don’t want to allow people that 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.”
We can put aside the fact that Trump’s statements impugning the character of the hurricane victims are in gallingly bad taste, since that’s par for the course for our insult comic Commander-in-Chief. What’s more noteworthy is the fact that Trump’s comments seem baseless along with the sheer sadism on display in the wake of a deadly disaster.
There’s currently a great deal of confusion on the matter after Bahamians attempting to travel to Florida last weekend were told to disembark from a ferry if they didn’t have visas. This is apparently not normal and indicates a rule change.
Another announcement just made ordering any Bahamian without a US visa to disembark ferry — not allowed to evacuate. They were told before boarding it was ok with Bahamian passport and clean polce record. Something has now changed. pic.twitter.com/m7CnZxoiMM— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 9, 2019
That’s it. We’re leaving — all Bahamian evacuees without a visa taken off. The Bahamians who remain are in shock. No one understands why the rule was changed at the last minute. The parents and kids now stuck on the island. pic.twitter.com/Jvd3D6MTZW— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 9, 2019
While Acting Commissioner of Customs And Border Patrol (CBP) Mark Morgan made a statement in response to the incident saying: “We will accept anyone on humanitarian reasons that needs to come here,” Trump’s comments tell a different story.
Seconds ago, Trump asked by Press about why he suddenly blocks Bahamian refugees.— Dr. Robert Fortuna (@psychdr100) September 9, 2019
"They have a big gang problem we don't want here"
"There were parts of the Bahamas that were not affected by the hurricane, so they can go there."
Both are lies. pic.twitter.com/6nFIpQos0M
The people of the Bahamas do not normally need a visa to enter the United States.— Joshua Potash 🆘 (@JoshuaPotash) September 9, 2019
Typically they are free to come and go.
And now, during a hurricane, the Trump administration demanded visas.
Vile and inhuman.