Search continues for missing migrants – Immigration Director issues warning

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NASSAU, Bahamas, Nov. 15, CMC – Immigration Director William Pratt has issued a warning to persons who may have assisted Haitians who came ashore on the weekend.
According to police reports, on Sunday afternoon, a large empty sloop was discovered in Adelaide Village on the island of New Providence.
However there were no signs of the Haitian migrants.
In an interview with the Tribune, Pratt said he was baffled as to how such a large boat could land so close to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) base and gone undetected .
Head of the Department of Immigration’s Enforcement unit, Kirklyn Neely said he believes that between 150 to 250 undocumented migrants were on board the vessel.
Meanwhile, as the search continues for the migrants, Neely said immigration officers on Monday apprehended 27 immigrants in an effort to obtain information on persons who landed here.
The authorities believe the Haitians had help from people already on New Providence.
Pratt, in issuing the warning said  anyone found to be hiding them would be jailed, fined or both.
“We do not know how the boat came in undetected. We did a sweep of the main area but the search was also extended to areas where we know a lot of Haitians are concentrated. So for the rest of the week, we will be picking up illegal immigrants every day, whether they were on the boat or not, until we get the persons that came on the sloop. Honestly, I do not know how the boat was not seen, seeing that it was so close to the base but maybe they need to reevaluate their surveillance – but it’s quite unusual.”
The total number of undocumented migrants apprehended by the RBDF for the year is approximately 1,100.
The RBDF says half of these apprehensions were made jointly with local immigration and police authorities officers as well as the United States Coast Guard.

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