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Bahamians with documents and a place to stay are welcome in Florida, Gov. DeSantis says

Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

DeSantis said the federal government has put more manpower into the visa office for affected Bahamians looking to come to the U.S.

If some Florida counties incur costs for humanitarian relief, "I think the federal government should be responsible for those costs," DeSantis said.

The bottled water, valued at about $95,000, is being shipped to Nassau, where relief efforts are being coordinated. FPL's foundation also has donated $100,000 and its employees have so far raised $85,000, which the company said it will match, for Hurricane Dorian relief.

Beginning with landfall Sept. 1, Hurricane Dorian's high winds and storm surge destroyed homes and businesses, damaged a power plant and blew down power lines. There reportedly are at least 50 dead from the storm while many survivors are trying to flee broken homes and no power.

That same week, South Florida braced itself for a potential landfall or hurricane-force winds, but the hurricane turned north before it had much effect on the coast. About 156,000 FPL customers lost power due to feeder bands from the storm and were quickly restored. More than 14 million of the utility's customers were potentially in Dorian's path.

President Donald Trump has dismissed bipartisan calls from Florida lawmakers to ease entry requirements for people fleeing Hurricane Dorian's devastation in the Bahamas, saying "totally proper documentation" is needed to ensure "very bad people" don't exploit the disaster.

Florida lawmakers have urged Trump to waive some visa requirements to help expedite evacuation efforts. Confusion has flourished over documentation requirements, with dozens of people in Freeport being ordered off a ferry bound for Fort Lauderdale on Sunday night because they didn't have visas.

Trump told reporters Monday on the White House lawn the federal government needs to be "very careful" because some people in the Bahamas aren't in the island nation legally and could be dangerous.


"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 and some very, very bad drug dealers," he said. "We are going to be very, very strong on that."

Nearly 1,500 Hurricane Dorian survivors arrived at the Port of Palm Beach aboard a cruise ship on Saturday and were processed without incident, Customs officials said.

(Staff writer Skyler Swisher contributed to this report.)

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