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Bahamian Evacuees Are Being Denied Temporary Protection By The Trump Administration

Over the first three days of September 2019, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian hovered above the Bahamas, where it ripped through homes, businesses, sea harbors, and more. The severe storm caused many residents' homes to be destroyed, leaving them without shelter and in many cases, without access to food. Clearly, they need as much aid as they can get, but unfortunately Bahamian evacuees are being denied temporary protection by the Trump administration. Yes, really. Elite Daily reached out to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

On Thursday, Sept. 12, NBC News reported that the United States will not grant temporary protection status (TPS) to Bahamians displaced by Hurricane Dorian, which would have allowed evacuees to live and work within the United States until the area was deemed safe to return to. Prior to this decision, the administration had considered granting protections to displaced Bahamians, but was still unsure. On Monday, Sept. 9, President Donald Trump aired his apparent concerns about allowing Bahamians into the United States by stating that "very bad people" and "drug dealers" could enter the United States from the Bahamas. Trump said,

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.

Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the administration denying temporary protection, and for further comment on Trump's Sept. 9 remarks, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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Hurricane Dorian left a devastating impact on the Bahamas. According to USA Today, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency reported that 15,000 Bahamians are still without food and shelter, and at least 50 people have died due to the storm. However, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said during an address on Wednesday, Sept. 11 that the death toll is likely to "significantly" increase. Not only is the death toll expected to change, but the exact number of missing residents is still unclear. On Sept. 11, Reuters reported that Bahamian officials believe that some 1,300 residents are missing after Hurricane Dorian, which is a drop from the previously believed estimate of 2,500. However, due to people being evacuated and some fleeing to shelters, it's hard to confirm the number of people missing.

TPS was established in the United States by Congress after passing the Immigration Act of 1990. Its mission is to grant residents of foreign nations the opportunity to enter the United States if their homes are deemed unsafe and putting them at the risk of violence and disease, or if their lives are threatened. However, the Trump administration is slowly making changes to these protections. According to immigration reform organization America's Voice (AV), DHS has been terminating TPS for countries whose protection deadlines are approaching. These countries include: Sudan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, and Honduras. Elite Daily reached out to DHS for comment on terminating TPS for foreign counties, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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The Trump administration might have declined TPS for Bahamians, but others are standing up and offering a helping hand. Celebrities including singer Justin Timberlake and golf professional Tiger Woods created the One Bahamas Fund in an effort to raise $12 million for Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas. So, take some time and see if you can help.