After Hurricane Dorian destroyed much of the Bahamas and killed an estimated 50 people as of Tuesday, many Bahamian refugees resorted to fleeing the island via ferry to the U.S.
The refugees were shocked to find out that they were ordered to disembark if they did not have a U.S. visa, even given the circumstances.
Amid the confusion of the various U.S. agencies tasked with making this decision, President Donald Trump cleared the air on Monday by telling reporters, “I don’t want to allow people that 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.”
Trump has provided yet another example of his utter disregard for the well-being of countries that are primarily populated by people of color. His lack of moral leadership is an embarrassment to the reputation of the U.S.
This comment is the most recent in a series of racial attacks made by the commander in chief. In the past he has been reported as asking, “Why do we need more Haitians?” and has referred to countries in Africa as “s***hole countries.”
He also has gone as far as disparaging American citizens by implying that hurricane victims in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico were not willing to help rebuild the island.
It is clear that Trump has set a different standard for countries that are primarily populated by people of color and in the past has been reported as pondering about why we don’t get more immigrants from predominantly white countries like Norway.
There has been a bipartisan effort from legislators calling to make it easier for hurricane victims to take refuge in the U.S. According to the Orlando Sentinel, 18 U.S. democratic house members from Florida, as well as both Republican U.S. Senators from Florida, have called to make it easier for Bahamian refugees to seek safety in the U.S., by waiving certain Visa requirements.
Luckily many Americans and, especially, Floridians have rejected the president’s brand of hate. NPR reported that the United States Agency for International Development is in the process of distributing 47 metric tons of aid to those suffering on the island, in coordination with the Bahamian Red Cross.
The moral foundation of this country relies on the American people resisting the president’s brand of divisive rhetoric. In a time in which people are suffering and the death toll is expected to rise, it is nothing short of cruel to not only deny assistance to those suffering, but to add insult to injury.
Jared Sellick is a junior majoring in political science.