On Saturday, about 1,500 people evacuated the Bahamas to Florida on a cruise ship, apparently without needing a visa. That changed when evacuees tried to board a ferry to Florida on Sunday; after getting on with just their passports, Bahamians were told to get off unless they had U.S. visas — an order that reportedly came from U.S. Customs and Border Protection when the ship announced it was leaving.
Big problems on the ferry from Freeport to Florida — announcement just made that any Bahamian without a visa must now get off. This is not normal. Nornally Bahamians can travel to USA with passport and a printout of their police record. This is a mess. pic.twitter.com/DESUm2qBGE
People kicked off the ferry had been waiting hours to get on, and most intended to stay in Florida just long enough to "go grocery shopping" and "stay in a hotel with AC," Entin reports. It's actually typical for islanders to ferry or fly to the mainland to buy things they need because it's cheaper, and with infrastructure in shambles due to Dorian, that optional trip became a necessity.
CBP gave WSVN a written statement, which you can read below. Kathryn Krawczyk