Group Urges Progress On Immigration Reform

June 14, 2018 | 11 Comments

[Updated] The “Supporting Fair Immigration Reform” group said they applaud Premier David Burt for recognizing the Portuguese community by announcing a public holiday to commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants, however they “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.”

A spokesperson said, “The individuals behind the “Supporting Fair Immigration Reform” Facebook group and our members applaud Premier David Burt for honoring and recognizing 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 released, 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.”

Update 11.43am: The Ministry of Home Affairs said, “The Minister of Home Affairs made the following comments in March during the budget debate: ‘Immigration involves a wide range of issues and will not be resolved in one fell swoop if we intend to address this thoroughly and strategically.’

“He also noted that: The Bipartisan Committee on Immigration Reform are looking at a much broader set of issues regarding immigration reform such as, work permit legislation and policies, land ownership and establishing key definitions such as ‘domicile’ and ‘ordinary residence.’

“The Bipartisan Committee has been meeting on a weekly basis and a first consultative document will be released in the next couple of months. The Committee is very sensitive to the need to strike a balance between the needs of our non-Bermudian residents and the needs of Bermudians.

“We must also ensure that members of the public have input into legislation that will affect their future and that of their children and grandchildren. Immigration has always been highly emotive and we want to ensure that we take into consideration the needs of all residents.

“Addressing these needs strategically and with the public input will avoid the demonstrations that occurred in March 2016.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. Well…many WERE NOT BORN HERE and perhaps, are NOT entitled to all the privileges that they want bestowed upon them.
    The fact that another holiday has been created for Portuguese is a part of the divisiveness currently existing on this rather small island. The racial divide is REAL and is not going away at all.
    If there be persons who feel/believe that racial equity and success for all is possible, it ain’t ever going to happen.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      “The fact that another holiday has been created for Portuguese is a part of the divisiveness currently existing on this rather small island.”

      When was the other holiday for Portuguese created? This is the first time according to Bermuda’s history. First time for a culture that has been a part of Bermuda’s culture for over 150 years. A culture that saved Bermuda’s economy by teaching Bermudians a new agriculture industry & helping to bring about the tourism industry. One that has had this same struggle that the article points out still exist today of being allowed to settle in the place they helped make. Most Bermudians of African decent had ancestors that arrived here as immigrants from west indies in the same time periods as Portuguese did. This immigration is a time spam of over 100 years. Over this time more immigrants from west indies were allowed status than Portuguese. About 70% of Bermuda’s population is of African ancestry via West Indies. About 15% of Bermuda’s population is of Portuguese ancestry. This is clearly is an inequity issue.

    • SMH says:

      “If there be persons who feel/believe that racial equity and success for all is possible, it ain’t ever going to happen.”

      BECAUSE OF BIGOTS LIKE YOU!

  2. No matter what plp do for the Portuguese community in Bermuda, they will ALWAYS collectively vote for the oba/ubp…whatever that group call themselves!!
    Historically, that is the Portuguese make-up.

    • Angelo says:

      As a Portuguese person I know that I will be voting for the PLP and so are many others that I know. Portuguese people for the PLP will be a movement.

      • SMH says:

        “As a Portuguese person I know that I will be voting for the PLP and so are many others that I know. ”

        In other words, you were easily bought.

      • Portuguese says:

        As a Portuguese person I am not suckered in by the cheap stunts being pulled by the PLP, and I will never vote for them.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Must be the come latelys because the original old timers aren’t fooled that easily.

  3. Clem says:

    land ownership and establishing key definitions such as ‘domicile’ and ‘ordinary residence.’

    The more you can get rid of the more effective the legislation .

    Our very own Windrush official policy of exclusion and hardships continue.

  4. Andy P says:

    In a press release it was stated that as “early as February” there would be some actions. They are delaying, and delaying. A long-term resident compared Bermuda to a fancy box of chocolates. Intitially they look amazing but then you open the box, take off the wrappings and you find the centres are rank. Very good simile. The fillings are xenophobic and bigoted. DO THE RIGHT THING. STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES. Hey Governor – you do the right thing and sort this you have the power to do so.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *Hey Governor – you do the right thing and sort this you have the power to do so.*

      What ? You want us to simultaneously burn to the waterline AND go independent ?

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