Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) are asking President Trump to give refuge in the United States to Bahamians hit by Hurricane Dorian.
In a letter sent to Trump, Rubio and Scott requested that the federal government “waive, or otherwise suspend, certain visa requirements for affected citizens of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas who have relatives in the United States with whom they can reside as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives and their country.”
A spokesperson for Rubio confirmed to Breitbart News that the request is not to create a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) category for the Bahamas which would allow Bahamians currently in the U.S. to remain in the country.
Instead, the spokesperson said, “What Bahamians are requesting, and what Senators Rubio and Scott are asking, is for them to be able to get a visa waiver or a visa to visit the U.S. on non-immigrant status.”
It is unclear which provisions of national immigration law could be suspended to give refuge to the roughly 395,000 residents living in the Bahamas.
Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Jessica Vaughan said the proposal sounds familiar to the Haitian Family Reunification Program whereby Haitian nationals living in the U.S. are able to expedite the visa process for their relatives in Haiti, allowing them to quickly resettle in the country.
“The answer to disasters in the world is not always to immediately suspend our immigration laws and let everyone move here,” Vaughan said. “There will be things we can do later to help those immigrating here, but can’t we think more broadly first, like helping get food and shelter and medical care to the islands?”
As Breitbart News reported, as many as 13,000 homes in the Bahamas have been either destroyed or severely damaged due to Hurricane Dorian. Thus far, Bahamian officials have confirmed at least seven people dead.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.