AG: Immigration overhaul bill still under review

AG: Immigration overhaul bill still under review
Attorney General, Carl Bethel.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has received the revised draft Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, 2018.

Attorney Carl Bethel told Eyewitness News Online yesterday that the bill remains in the review stage.

“We’re also supposed to receive some comments that having regard from their source, we thought merited a request for response and a reconsideration perhaps of certain provisions, so we are still unfortunately in the review stage,” Bethel said.

“At the end of the day, we want a workable law that effectively protects the integrity and the sovereignty of The Bahamas, while guaranteeing all necessary due human rights and constitutional rights that our constitution guarantees to all.

“It can be a very long process because it is so vitally important that nothing we do in statute law offends in anyway against the protections afforded by our constitution.”

Seeking to address long-standing issues surrounding statelessness and the right to pass on citizenship, the proposed legislation puts forth sweeping changes to the country’s immigration laws.

Under the first draft of the bill, anyone born in The Bahamas after July 9, 1973 to non-Bahamian parents and does not apply for citizenship before by their 19th birthday, would lose that right to apply for citizenship.

Additionally, the bill would have given individuals who fall under that category six months after
the law takes effect to apply for some form of status or risk being deported.

Provisions under the new legislation would also establish a “right of abode” in The Bahamas, for anyone born in the country to foreign parents while they are a minor.

The bill was drafted by the Law Reform Commission, headed by Dame Anita Allen and would repeal the Bahamas Nationality Act and the Immigration Act.