Boat Company and Border Officials Tell Different Stories About Rejection of Dorian-Displaced Bahamians

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Confusion over rules for Bahamians fleeing hurricane. Bahamas residents displaced by Hurricane Dorian were told that they could come to the U.S. by simply showing their passports and police records—no visa needed. But when a boatful of Bahamians was bound for Florida from Freeport on Sunday, its passengers were told that if they didn’t have visas, they had to get off the boat.

Hundreds of passengers “trying to evacuate [were told they] could leave with Bahamian passport and police record like normal but then ferry crew says US Government called and changed plan last minute,” tweeted WSVN-TV reporter Brian Entin last night. “One woman told Entin that as many as 130 people left the ferry after the announcement,” reported CNN.

Disbelief and outrage spread quickly…

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denies that there has been a rule change.

“CBP continues to process the arrivals of passengers evacuating from the Bahamas according to established policy and procedures—as demonstrated by the nearly 1,500 Hurricane Dorian survivors who arrived at the Port of Palm Beach, Fla., aboard a cruise ship on Saturday and were processed without incident,” the agency said in a statement.

As for the ship in question, “CBP was notified of a vessel preparing to embark an unknown number of passengers in Freeport and requested that the operator of the vessel coordinate with U.S. and Bahamian government officials in Nassau before departing The Bahamas,” said the agency. “CBP is not denying or discouraging evacuation efforts and empathizes with the plight of the Bahamian people.”

But CBP’s statements have only added to the confusion. The agency’s website states that “Bahamian citizens who meet the requirements…may apply for admission to the United States without a visa at one of the US Customs and Border Protection Pre-clearance Facilities located in Nassau or Freeport International Airports.” One of these requirements is that Bahamians arrive in the U.S. by plane.

Entin followed up on his initial tweets by noting that the flight/boat distinction had been temporarily suspended due to Hurricane Dorian, and Bahamas citizens who would otherwise be permitted without a visa were still OK if they came by boat.

CBP officials in Florida blamed the boat company, Balearia, for passengers being told otherwise. Balearia is blaming CBP.


“It’s time to create a libertarian ecosystem that doesn’t welcome racists,” writes Bonnie Kristian at The Week, echoing sentiments voiced by Tim Carney and Ross Douthat about Republicans and the right:

The American right’s racism problem is not about conservative ideas per se. That racists like some of the same things you like does not, of itself, make those things racist (though certainly it may prompt their re-examination)—see The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat’s recent column teasing out some of this distinction. But, as Carney and Douthat both describe, the mainstream conservative movement has not made itself adequately inhospitable to racism.

“Every extended conversation I have with 20-something conservatives includes a discussion of how to deal with racist flirtations in their peer group,” says Douthat, while Carney calls his fellow conservatives to the urgent task of “doing something to make clear that conservatism and racism don’t mix.”

Let me call libertarians to do the same.

Whole thing here.



The latest Democratic candidate rankings, courtesy of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll:

    • Joe Biden: 27 percent (-2 points from July)
    • Sen. Bernie Sanders: 19 percent (-4 points from July)
    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 17 percent (+6 points since July)
    • Sen. Kamala Harris: 7 percent (-4 points from July)
    • Pete Buttigieg: 4 percent (total unchanged)


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