A group of Bahamian residents trying to escape the devastation of Hurricane Dorian were turned away from a ferry headed to Florida Sunday night.
More than 100 Bahamians were ordered off the ship before it left because they did not have travel visas, according to WSVN.
“Passengers who do not have U.S. visas, please proceed to disembark,” a ferry employee announced over the loudspeaker shortly before the boat was supposed to take off for Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
The hundred or so residents were left behind in the Bahamas and the ferry left without them.
According to the Customs and Border Protection’s website, Bahamian citizens flying into the United States are not required to have a visa if they meet the other criteria, including a valid passport and no criminal record, but the site does not specify for other forms of travel.
In a statement, CBP said officials were “notified of a vessel preparing to embark an unknown number of passengers in Freeport and requested that the operator of the vessel coordinate with U.S. and Bahamian government officials in Nassau before departing the Bahamas.”
The organization also said all Bahamians and “private vessel and aircraft operators...must present themselves to a CBP officer for inspection at an official CBP Port of Entry."
“This is the height of cruelty — denying help to those who need it most,” Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke tweeted Sunday night. “This administration has said the words on the Statue of Liberty should be rewritten, and in their actions, they are already changing who we are as a country. It’s on us to prove we’re better than this.”
Dorian devastated the Bahamas as it swept through the country, with much of the damage still being assessed. The United States Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green said over the weekend that parts of the area looked “almost as though nuclear bombs were dropped on them.”