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dorian's aftermath
September 9, 2019

Bahamians' need to get into the United States is more dire than ever, but U.S. policy is apparently stopping them from doing so.

The islanders usually have no problem heading to south Florida with just a passport and a police record. But just a week after Hurricane Dorian left the northern Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands in ruins, unannounced policy changes are keeping Bahamians from getting food and water in the states, Brian Entin reports for Miami TV station WSVN.

On Saturday, about 1,500 people evacuated the Bahamas to Florida on a cruise ship, apparently without needing a visa. That changed when evacuees tried to board a ferry to Florida on Sunday; after getting on with just their passports, Bahamians were told to get off unless they had U.S. visas — an order that reportedly came from U.S. Customs and Border Protection when the ship announced it was leaving.

People kicked off the ferry had been waiting hours to get on, and most intended to stay in Florida just long enough to "go grocery shopping" and "stay in a hotel with AC," Entin reports. It's actually typical for islanders to ferry or fly to the mainland to buy things they need because it's cheaper, and with infrastructure in shambles due to Dorian, that optional trip became a necessity.

CBP gave WSVN a written statement, which you can read below. Kathryn Krawczyk

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