Trump says some Hurricane Dorian victims should not be given refuge in the US because the Bahamas is full of 'very bad gang members'
- President Donald Trump defended a private ferry company turning away Bahamian victims of Hurricane Dorian by baselessly claiming some could be gang members or drug dealers.
- On Sunday, about 100 of the estimated 70,000 Bahamians displaced by Dorian took a ferry to Florida, hoping to seek refuge in the United States, but were told by crew members that they could not enter without a valid visa.
- Customs and Border Patrol Officials clarified that anyone fleeing the Bahamas in the wake of the hurricane would be processed into the United States.
- Trump claimed - without citing any evidence - that the US would be justified in turning away stranded Bahamians because some could be carrying drugs or be connected to gangs.
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President Donald Trump defended a private ferry company turning away Bahamian victims of Hurricane Dorian by baselessly claiming some could be gang members or drug dealers.
Over Labor Day Weekend, Hurricane Dorian attained Category 5 status and pummeled the Bahamas, causing at least 50 deaths and devastating entire islands in its wake.On Sunday, about 100 of the estimated 70,000 Bahamians displaced by Dorian took a ferry to Florida, hoping to seek refuge in the United States.
Normally, Bahamians can enter the United States with a valid passport and police record, and do not need to obtain a visa.
But in a video that has since gone viral, the Bahamians who arrived on the ferry were told by a crew member they would be turned away if they did not already have a valid visa to enter the United States.
In the wake of the video and the outrage it prompted, acting Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Mark Morgan sought to clear up some of the confusion, saying in a press conference, "We will accept anyone on humanitarian reasons that needs to come here" regardless of whether they have a visa.
Another CBP official told a local Florida TV station that it was the ferry company and not the US government who turned the passengers away, saying CBP would have processed them into the country had they gotten off the vessel, and clarifying that "they were not ordered off the boat by any U.S. government entity."But speaking to reporters outside the White House on Monday, Trump claimed - without citing any evidence - that the US would be justified in turning away stranded Bahamians because some could be carrying drugs or be connected to gangs.
Trump, contradicting Morgan, said "everyone" trying to come from the Bahamas "needs totally proper documentation."
"I don't want to allow people who weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members, and some very, very bad drug dealers," Trump added, not clarifying who exactly the people "who weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas" were.
Trump further emphasized that there were "very large" areas of the Bahamas that were not hit, and that US aid and rescue efforts were working on moving displaced Bahamians to those areas.
The eye of Dorian primarily hit the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama Island, the northernmost islands in the Bahamas.
Other private ship and cruise line companies including Bahama Paradise Cruise Lines have successfully transported thousands of stranded Bahamians to the United States.
Read more of Insider's coverage of Hurricane Dorian:The hardest-hit communities in the Bahamas look apocalyptic after Hurricane Dorian, with wrecked homes and corpses left to rot in the hot sun