Integration Now is a move to integrate Haitians who are living, resident and born in the Bahamas into Bahamian society
The Bahamas follows the Jus Sanquinis law of citizenship which means citizenship via ‘the right of blood’ However the state of Haiti follows the Jus soli laws of citizenship where the place of birth determines citizenship. For many children born of Haitian parents in the Bahamas after 1973, this creates a situation of ‘statelessness’ until aged 18, when they can apply, and may be given citizenship. However there is no guarantee and there can be delays.
This situation of statelessness is creating an under class of people living separately and marginally to the main stream Bahamian society. They areUnable to participate in the wider society, in ways most people take for granted.
Without documentation it is difficult to travel, get married, attend university or even to hold jobs.
The NGO Caribbean Development Foundation launched ‘The integration now’ campaign in January 2010 with a conference held at the New Providence Community centre. This conference attempted to bring together NGOs and Individuals in the Bahamas working to bring about a change in the situation of Haitians in the Bahamas.
The Conference was funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The aims and objectives of the Integration Now campaign are to bring about integration in the Bahamas by lobbying for the following changes to the immigration laws of the Bahamas:
- Children born in the Bahamas to legally resident Haitians should be given automatic citizenship at birth.
- Illegal Haitian immigrants living in the Bahamas for a minimum of 5 years, upon the birth of their first child in the Bahamas should be given the opportunity to apply for legal status without fear of being penalized for their previous status
- A change in the immigration policy that shifts the focus from Haitians already on the ground in the Bahamas, to a policy that commits more time and resources to the prevention of the illegal flow of Haitians to the Bahamas.
The NGO Caribbean Development Foundation would like to hear from you.
Please answer the questions below, you do not need to identify yourself.
We would like to know your feelings about the issues outlined above. In addition to your views we would like some very basic information about you, such as your age and nationality.
This basic information will help us in our research.