But a growing chorus of Congress members, including Florida Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have called for a suspension of visa requirements to help reunite stranded Bahamians with US relatives.
Mariko Kagoshima, UN Resident Coordinator for The Bahamas said "we know that there were approximately 17, 000 people living in Abaco before the hurricane". Evacuees had initially been told they needed to bring their Bahamian passports and "police record", a paper from authorities verifying they had no criminal record.
If they had remained on the boat and arrived in the United States, "we would have processed them, we would have done vetting and, you know, we would have done everything we needed to do within the USA laws and regulations to determine their admissibility and process them accordingly", Silvestri said. In case of a humanitarian emergency, the port director can waive those requirements, according to CNN. Jones said what happened at the boat was a "misunderstanding" between ferry administrators and US agencies but said the government needs to make the process easier on families fleeing the devastated islands.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data, Bahamians fall extremely low on the list of removals from the U.S. "Everybody needs totally proper documentation", Trump said before he flew to North Carolina to inspect hurricane damage and speak at a political rally.
But they were forced off the boat before it set sail after the crew suddenly announced it would not take any passengers seeking refuge without a USA visa, according to local media reports. Some reported they had family members still missing and others recalled watching friends and neighbors drown in the storm surge.
"If the history shows that it's taken a lengthy time to get the Bahamas back to where these people can return to, I'm sure that that will be a discussion that we'd be having", he said.
He said the $3.5 million being requested by PAHO is a preliminary estimate to cover short-term healthcare, water and sanitation, epidemiological surveillance and vector-control needs in the Bahamian islands most affected by Hurricane Dorian for the next six months.
Ted Curry was one of more than 300 people waiting at the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport trying to get a flight to Nassau, the nation's capital.
"There are parts of Abaco and the Bahamas that don't show a great deal of damage, and then there are clusters and communities that were devastated, nearly as though nuclear bombs were dropped on them", said USAID director Mark Green.
The troops - some of whom arrived in the Bahamas over the weekend - have begun a variety of missions, including search and rescue operations and assessing air fields to ensure they could safely receive aircraft loaded with troops, equipment and relief supplies, Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said Monday. In Marsh Harbour, most of the infrastructure is damaged. The morticians told CNN the difficulty in reaching the dead was slowing their work.
"The island of Abaco has been through and survived many hurricanes in the past".
Bahamian officials have expressed great appreciation for the support Carnival and its employees and guests have provided but also stressed that the other parts of The Bahamas are open for business and stand ready to welcome guests.
Health Minister Duane Sands confirmed to NBC News early Tuesday that 44 people have died due to the hurricane, which battered the Bahamas earlier this month.