‘Mixed Feelings’ Over Uighurs Getting Citizenship

September 4, 2018

The ‘Supporting Fair Immigration Reform’ group said they “have mixed feelings with the granting of BOTC citizenship to the Uighurs“, explaining that some members are pleased with this news, while other members were not pleased that the Uighurs’ immigration situation is “resolved faster than someone who has been living in Bermuda for almost 3 times the amount of time.”

Their comments follows after the Uighurs, who first arrived in 2009, were naturalised as British Overseas Territory Citizens.

“The Uighurs applied to Government House to be naturalised as British Overseas Territory Citizens [BOTC],” a Government spokesperson said late last month.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs is aware that they were granted the citizenship. As a result, they would be eligible for BOTC passports. It should be noted that this citizenship is not to be equated with Bermudian status. There is currently no legislation that would give them Bermudian status,” the Ministry added.

Immigration Law on notepaper and the US flag

A Supporting Fair Immigration Reform spokesperson said, “The individuals behind the ‘Supporting Fair Immigration Reform’ Facebook group and our members have mixed feelings with the granting of BOTC citizenship to the Uighurs.

“The Uighurs were secretly brought to Bermuda from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2009. Since they arrived in Bermuda they were stateless and unable to leave Bermuda. They were granted indefinite permission to stay which allowed them to be eligible to apply for BOTC under the British Nationality Act.

“After nine years of living in Bermuda with their families, the Home Affairs Ministry has confirmed that these four men have been made British Overseas Territories Citizens. These men can now apply for Bermuda passports and even UK passports.

“These men and their families will now be considered ‘Belongers.’In the simplest terms a Belonger is someone that ‘belongs to Bermuda’ and hold a Bermudian passports but they cannot vote. Those who ‘belong to Bermuda’ are Bermudian Status Holders, Naturalized Citizens of the UK Overseas Dependent Territories, Spouses of Bermudians and Children under the age of 18 years whose parents ‘belong to Bermuda.’

“Some members are pleased with this news as these men can now travel. They were brought to Bermuda through no fault of their own and were promised citizenship but never received it. They now have achieved a major step with becoming naturalized but they cannot receive Bermuda Status as there is no provision in our current immigration laws that would allow this.

“However there are members that are not pleased that the Uighurs immigration situation is being pushed to be resolved faster than someone who has been living in Bermuda for almost 3 times the amount of time they have resided here.

“Currently, we have so many different classes of people in Bermuda. There are some that are given partial rights and some that have no rights. We have people that were born or came to Bermuda 20- 25 years ago and have absolutely no rights.

“They are treated just like a dependent of a work permit holder until they no longer become a dependent. Once they are no longer a dependent, they must either go back to where their parents came from or find somewhere else to live.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs had advised in July that the Immigration Reform Working Group were in the final stages of producing recommendations to be included in their document to be reviewed by cabinet. As of today, September 3, nothing further has been released to the public about immigration reform.

“We once again implore and urge the Government to fulfill its own stated promise of comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform to correct the injustices and divisions that exists within many families in Bermuda.”

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Comments (18)

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  1. Cow Polly says:

    Just remember who brought on this whole sorry mess and here he is ten years later standing at a Labour Rally as our Acting Premier spouting about Bermuda for Bermudians! Remember he is also one of the supporters of the Shelly Bay debacle which saw young Bermudian entrepreneurs lose out to a selfish bunch of political insiders and also the guy who doesn’t care what the majority thinks when it comes to the environment.

    And we actually wonder why the rules of fairness don’t apply? Politically motivated acts has no fairness.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Remember, if you live east of White Hill your vote does not count!

  2. Appendix1 says:

    How can it be that these guys can stay here forever, whilst I have been here for 20 years, have a wife and locally born kids, contributed to local charities as a volunteer, yet am always within 12 months of being told to leave with no warning?

    • Onion Juice says:

      Difference is, if they were sent back to their home they would have been killed. Unlike some people who come here to make a better living from where they came from and have a chooce to go back home but decide to stay much longer through legal loopeholes.
      If EVERYONE decides to come to Bermuda and use it as a CASH COW without monitoring the number off people coming, then how would you feel if where ever you come from, it was overrun by foreigners who have an economic advantage or being used for cheap labour at the expense of the local people.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      Because when you go back to your country you’re not in danger of being executed.

      Would you rather trade places with them?

      Be thankful for what you have & stop acting so entitled in someone else country.

      • Debbie says:

        AMEN Onion Juice and the Original Truth!! And they still wont get or accept stated truths!

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        TBH they shouldn’t have been wandering around in Afghanistan….yes the Xiughur’s are persecuted in China, could have gone to a closer country. Makes you go huh….plus we guys had no choice whether to accept them or not so I could care less what happens to them back home. NOT MY CHOICE OR PROBLEM!!

    • XBDA says:

      I was in Bermuda for 6 years. Once I had my first locally-born child, I found out he would never have any rights, would be banned from having any summer jobs and would be deported on his 18th birthday. At the same time, one of my Bermudian business partners stopped coming into work. He told me that, because of the 60-40 rule, he figured I would do 100% of the work, take 100% of the risk and give him 60% of the profits.

      So I closed down my business and went to another country with less ridiculous immigration laws. I make the same amount of money, the taxes are a bit higher but cost of living is much lower, and I and my family will have citizenship in another 3 years.

      When I closed down my business, Bermudians lost their jobs. But Bermudians don’t *really* care about jobs, they just hate foreigners. They will always support whatever law makes their lives in Bermuda more difficult. Just look at the two comments you got below. The idea that you will ever get any rights in Bermuda is a pipe dream.

      At one point, you’ll just have to bite the bullet like I did, and realize: “The people of Bermuda hate me and hate my family. I should move somewhere else where my family can grow up like normal human beings with full rights.”

  3. Biggadon says:

    I see it like this , these guys are here through no fault of their own. This is a great humanitarian effort on the part of Bermuda or the UK whom ever finally relieved these men of their stateless status. As much as we here in BDA like to scream HUMAN RIGHTS no one be against this. HAPPY FOR THEM !

    • Toodle-oo says:

      * no one be against this.*

      You’re obviously poorly read or poorly informed.

      • Biggadon says:

        clearly you have nothing to add to the convo besides pointing out my omission of the word SHOULD …..

        • Toodle-oo says:

          My gawd , that went completely over you . My comment had nothing whatsoever to do with any missing words yet you insist on digging a deeper hole.
          Oh , and it’s always wise to proof read before hitting ‘submit’ .

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      How is it their fault? They didn’t choose to be wrongfully imprisoned at Guantanamo.

  4. Rocky5 says:

    Cuz you ain’t part of PLP!

  5. Mary Lodge says:

    Guantánamo Prison was an abomination of Human Rights and I am proud that Bermuda was able to bring freedom and dignity to these gentlemen and their families.

  6. Silence Do Good says:

    Ok I’m confused and it does not take much.

    Being granted BOTC has to be done via a qualifying state like Bermuda a BOT. The UK government granting BOTC for citizenship has to be linked to a state i.e. Bermuda. Bermuda citizenship gives the right to vote, children/spouses being granted status in the future, all the rights of a status Bermudian. Correct?

    Is it just semantics for MP Brown to say they don’t have status but they have citizenship. Yes, the only way to legally get “status” is by birth or marriage but citizenship is equivalent for all the same Bermudian rights. Didn’t the challenge by the previous PRC’s settle that misconception?

    I would love to see more apply for BOTC if you match the UK’s requirements and claim human rights issues especially where the separation of family is a possibility.

  7. Harry Buttle says:

    What I see is people who aren’t appreciating the unusual circumstances that these men were brought into Bermuda. This is an unprecedented situation and is unlikely to be repeated considering the substantial backlash it created.

    They really didn’t have anywhere to go or any choice. Understandably there are children born in Bermuda who can argue that they belong here – they probably do but it’s unlikely they’ll be detained or killed for not staying here.

    Ultimately there needs to be immigration reform, yes we have people born of Bermuda who for no fault of their own know nothing else. But they do have some form of citizenship that won’t get them detained or killed should they have to use it.

    Really the government needs to get off their a** and get moving on the reform recommendations.