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Hundreds Of Hurricane Dorian Bahamian Evacuees Told To Leave Rescue Ship If They Didn’t Have A U.S. Visa

U.S. Customs are denying Bahamas evacuees without visas The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is under fire for reportedly telling people fleeing Hurricane Dorian that they couldn’t come aboard...

(PHOTO CREDIT: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GETTY)

U.S. Customs are denying Bahamas evacuees without visas

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is under fire for reportedly telling people fleeing Hurricane Dorian that they couldn’t come aboard the rescue ship unless they had a visa.

The ship picked up evacuees in Freeport, a city in the Bahamas, to take them to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas last week, causing massive structural damage and killing dozens of people. Witnesses say about 130 people, including families with children, got off the rescue ship when the operator made the announcement.

But CBP is blaming the ferry operator that owns the ship for the confusion, saying they failed to coordinate the rescue with U.S. officials.

“CBP relies on the transportation companies in both the air and sea environments to be engaged in ensuring the safety and well-being of any individuals that have been devastated by this tragedy and that requires transparent communication and planning for adequate resources to receive any arrivals,” CBP said in a statement.

Stephen Silvestri, a CBP official in Florida, said that if the evacuees had landed on U.S. soil, “we would have processed them, we would have done vetting and, you know, we would have done everything we needed to do within the US laws and regulations to determine their admissibility and process them accordingly.”

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