Pathways group disappointed by ‘lack of progress’
A Facebook group supporting pathways to status has said it is disappointed with the Immigration Reform Working Group's lack of progress with “mixed status” families.
It also urged the Bermuda Government and the Working Group to consider creating a direct pathway to status for persons born in Bermuda or who arrived at a young age and have lived here their entire lives.
It comes after the group's chairman, William Madeiros, said earlier this month that a lack of available information had slowed progress.
“Almost to the day, a year has passed since a mutually agreed deadline for delivering recommendations on children and family classes of immigration,” the individuals behind the “We Support Pathways” Facebook group said in a statement.
“We are disappointed that no recommendations have been made and that it has taken the Working Group one year and hundreds of hours in deliberations to be at the same point. We are also dubious with pressing the Government for further data that it has been unable to provide, especially as there is no way to know of certain individuals who have never applied for status or PRC.”
The statement added that in their submission to the Working Group, “we recommended that there be a direct pathway to status for persons born in Bermuda or who arrived at a young age, and who lived here their entire lives”. “These people so are thoroughly assimilated into Bermuda's cultural and social fabric, and they know no other home. This would address nearly all persons in “mixed status” families and other categories of persons deserving of protection.
“We once again implore and urge the Working Group and the Government to consider this vitally needed reform,” it added.
The Working Group, which started after protests sparked by the controversial Pathways to States legislation, began its consultations on “mixed status” families last year with various public meetings held between July 19 and November 3.
“We have tried to assist the Working Group by reaching out to our 2,500 members and 5,000 petition supporters,” the Facebook group said.
“We conducted a survey and shared the results with the Working Group. We understand that other community groups have also assisted with sharing data.”
The statement also warned that “Bermuda remains in breach of international human rights standards and norms” but not resolving the issue.
“When a person lives in a country for a long time, puts roots down in the community, makes friends and has family in Bermuda — their right to respect for private and family life is engaged.
“When these people have no pathway to long-term security, their rights are infringed.”
In providing an update on the group's work, Mr Madeiros said calls for data about mixed status families in Bermuda were a “constant theme”.
He also revealed that the group was developing a means to collect this data, with the help of the Bermuda Government.
“Once collected, we will be able to advance our deliberations and come back to the public for its review and assessment.”