National Politics

White House says no protected status now for Bahamians post-Dorian

President Donald Trump's administration doesn't plan at this time to invoke a special immigration status for Bahamians displaced by Hurricane Dorian who are already in the U.S, an official familiar with the matter said.

The official, speaking Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. continues to support the recovery effort with aid and services.

The revelation comes two days after the acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, endorsed the idea of giving displaced Bahamians so-called temporary protected status in the U.S. Morgan said he thought it would be appropriate to grant the protected status following the storm but added he hadn't yet spoken with Trump or other members of the administration about it.

"I think that would be appropriate to have that circumstance, especially depending – I mean, history shows we've done that before," Morgan said Monday during a White House briefing. "I'm sure that that would be the discussion we'll be having."

Trump was asked on Monday whether he'd offer temporary protected status to the people of the Bahamas. He didn't answer directly but pointed out that the U.S. is "recovering from the hurricane also." Trump also said that "some very bad people" could enter the U.S. from the Bahamas, without citing evidence.

The U.S. has been sending mixed signals all week on documentation requirements – and status – of Bahamians displaced by the hurricane who either already have come to the U.S., or who are trying to flee the devastated islands.

Trump said Monday that everyone needs "totally proper documentation." Morgan had said earlier that same day that people whose lives are in jeopardy are "going to be allowed to come to the United States, right, whether you have travel documents or not."

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