Concern over immigration reform
The individuals behind the “Supporting Fair Immigration Reform” Facebook group and our members applaud Premier David Burt for honouring and recognising the Portuguese community by announcing November 4, 2019 as a public holiday in Bermuda to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda. The Portuguese community has made a large contribution to Bermuda.
However we remain concerned about the current dilemma of immigration reform that many Portuguese families face and that this holiday is being used to distract from the need for substantive reform. Some Portuguese nationals were born in Bermuda and have lived here their entire lives. Some Portuguese families are divided between status holders, permanent residents, belongers and work permit holders. These situations remain fundamentally unfair.
When looking back at what has been done in the terms of immigration reform since the Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group submitted their report on October 31, 2017 to the current minister and previous member of the team, Walton Brown, nothing further has been released to the public.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs had advised that interim reports would be released but a time frame was not specified. In addition to these reports, the group would be holding public meetings when they reached certain milestones.
As of today, no meetings or reports have been release and this leaves us to assume that no milestones have been reached and no interim reports have been written. This process seems to not be progressing as it should be. Immigration reform cannot continue to be stalled as it is just getting more and more complex and unfair as time goes by.
In a speech made in the House of Assembly on June 1, 2018, Premier David Burt stated:
“We are unique in the world as we have no true native people. We all came from somewhere else and have individually and collectively committed to this series of islands called Bermuda.”
We once again implore and urge the Government to continue to work on completing comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform to correct the injustices and divisions that it has created within families.
• Press release from Supporting Fair Immigration Reform group
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