"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 and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers".
Two hours before Trump's remarks, acting CPB director Mark Morgan appeared in the White House briefing room to tout the administration's record of apprehension on the U.S. -Mexico border and defended the administration's work to vet all evacuees from the Bahamas for possible threats to national security.
President Donald Trump is grabbing headlines again - this time around, POTUS has claimed that he does not want the hundreds of survivors of Hurricane Dorian from the Bahamas to enter the United States because the archipelago is full of "very bad gang members".
More than a hundred Bahamian citizens desperate to escape the devastation of Hurricane Dorian were ordered off a ferry to Florida, sparking a dispute between United States immigration officials and the operator of the vessel.
US Customs and Border Protection says on its website that Bahamian citizens may apply for admission to the US without a visa if they meet certain requirements, including possessing a valid, unexpired passport, have no criminal record, and have a police certificate issued within the past six months.
"Or put another way, when the president told Bahamians, "We're with you", he may not have fully meant 'with".
Rubio toured the worst-hit islands last week with his fellow United States senator Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis, the former and current governors of Florida, the trio urging the Trump administration to waive or suspend certain visa requirements for Bahamian nationals to come to the US. But those with such documentation were asked to get off the Balearia after the passenger manifest was submitted to the USA federal agency on Sunday night, according to some of the crew, because they said the USA would not accept them.
The day before the United States President made the comments, several hundred storm survivors were prevented from boarding a ferry to Florida because they lacked U.S. visas, in what authorities have labelled a mistake.
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While the White House and Customs and Border Protection struggle to get their story straight, death toll in the Bahamas continues to climb, yesterday reaching 50 people.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has warned the capital of Nassau could not just take in the entire population of Abaco island and that the government plans to set up temporary shelters in areas hit hardest by the hurricane.
"This is a humanitarian mission, right?" "And we are not allowing those people from the sections that were not hit".
"As hundreds of thousands of Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian, we can not have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport", Scott said in a statement.
A spokesperson for CBP said the 103 Bahamians who were not allowed to travel did not have any kind of identification.
"I'm also anxious that we're tearing ourselves apart", Rice said, referring to a return of what she called the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" in American foreign policy: populism, nativism, isolationism and protectionism.
"We regret and apologize for the hardship and inconvenience experienced by the 119 passengers who are residents from Grand Bahama Island who could not be transported", the company added. They both want visa requirements waived for Dorian survivors. "And made a decision to leave instead of waiting a few hours to complete process".
"As hundreds of thousands of Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian, we can not have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport".