A Family Evacuating Storm Ravaged Abaco Island In The Bahamas Are Fighting To Be Reunited With Their Daughter
Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas last week and the Bahamian people are desperate for help. Some of that help is supposed to be coming from the U.S. While the government is allowing some people to enter the country, there have been some stories of the U.S. government causing more harm than good to those seeking help. The latest is the story of a family separated at the border.
A 12-year-old girl was separated from her godmother as her family fled the Bahamas for the U.S.
According to Miami Herald, Kaytora Paul flew with her godmother from Nassau to West Palm Beach, Florida. When the pair arrived at the airport, Customs and Border Patrol immediately diverted them the Miami International Airport. When they arrived at Miami International Airport, the young girl was taken from her godmother.
The news of the separation has sparked outrage across the country with many demanding to know what is going on.
The young girl was then sent to His House Children’s Home, which is used for unaccompanied migrant children. CBP claims they separated the girl from the godmother because she is not her biological relative. However, it is also being reported that the girl’s biological aunt arrived at the airport to pick the young girl up and CBP refused to release the girl to her aunt.
Kaytora’s parents are desperately trying to reunite with their daughter currently in immigration detention.
“CBP made multiple attempts to contact family members however was unsuccessful—resulting in the need to transfer the child to HHS custody. CBP exercises due diligence to guard against child exploitation and human smuggling during uncertainties created by natural disasters and emergencies,” a CBP spokesperson said in an email to Miami Herald. “When encountering minors, there are legal requirements that CBP must follow that are in place to ensure the safety of the child.”
The incident is taking a toll on the young girl’s family.
“I thought losing my house was devastating. Or having to relocate to a different island or country was devastating,” Katty Paul, Kaytora’s mother, told Miami Herald. “But when I found out that they got her, my baby, I mean, there are no words. It was at that moment that I really lost everything.”
People in the U.S. and the international community are calling on CBP to do the right thing and allow the young girl to be reunited with her family.
The Paul family lived on the Abaco island. The island is one of the most devastated places in the Bahamas. The category 5 hurricane sat on the Bahamas for 36 hours with winds up to 200+ miles per hour. The devastation of the island nation is forcing Bahamians to evacuate in droves as they hope for a recovery. The official death toll for Hurricane Dorian is currently 50 but it is expected to rise. Some Bahamians have disputed the official number stating that it is clearly higher.
Bahamians were told by the U.S. government that they were allowed to come to the U.S. to escape the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, but there seem to be a few catches.
One ferry was told to remove all people without visas to travel to the U.S. after it had set sail despite the U.S. telling people they did not need a visa. CBP claims it was the ferry who told people to disembark the boat but the ferry company places the blame entirely on CBP.