Lack of data slows Immigration Working Group
The Immigration Reform Working Group is working with Government to collect data after a lack of available information slowed progress.
Delivering an update on the group’s work, chairman William Madeiros said that after a year of discussions, forums and submissions, calls for data about mixed status families in Bermuda were a “constant theme”.
“All members take their responsibilities seriously and remain focused on making recommendations to the Government,” he said. “No one expected to be working on these matters a year after we commenced. The group has spent hundreds of hours in deliberations, spoken to many outside agencies, studied numerous submissions and hosted ten productive public forums.
“To progress further, however, we need reliable data in order to make fair, well-conceived and multi-generational legislative proposals to the Government. The call for such information was a consistent theme during the many public meetings held last year.
“In the absence of relevant information being readily available, we are now developing, with Government assistance, a means to collect critically important data on mixed status families.
“Once collected, we will be able to advance our deliberations and come back to the public for its review and assessment.
“We have been challenged on our timeline, process and progress by some in the community. Our position is clear: we will examine the issues carefully, engage the public and arrive at informed positions on the issues at hand.
“Our mandate is to get the proposals right — inclusive of public consultation — and we know that Bermuda will allow us the necessary time to do so.”
Mr Madeiros said the group reports to Michael Dunkley, the Premier, through the Minister of Home Affairs, the Immigration Reform Action Group and the Bermuda Industrial Union, and has been regularly reporting on its deliberations to those parties, along with the Bermuda Public Services Union and the People’s Campaign.
The working group was formed in the wake of a week of protest outside the House of Assembly over proposed “Pathways to Status” legislation. Last June, the group presented its recommendations on adoption cases, and has since been working to examine the issue of mixed status families on the island.
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