By The Florida Star
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson on October 9 welcomed Taranique Thurston at her first medical appointment at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she will receive treatment for a potentially life-threatening brain cyst.
Taranique, 16, faced a major challenge before she was able to travel to Miami from the Bahamas, due to her immigration status. She is considered stateless because her parents were not married and her mother, who is of Haitian descent, had not yet received Bahamian citizenship at the time of her birth. As a result, Bahamian law does not recognize Taranique as a citizen.
“We talk about immigration in Congress and about people immigrating to the United States, but immigration is an issue that affects people across the globe,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “I want to thank Jackson Memorial for being a beacon of hope for thousands of people around the world who find themselves in a situation like this.”
After learning about Taranique’s visa difficulty, Congresswoman Wilson reached out to officials in the State Department and the Bahamian government to secure an emergency medical visa for the teen. She also worked with Jackson Memorial to secure an expedited appointment.
“We will be asking CARICOM to look into this issue so that others will not find themselves in the same situation. Problematic laws in one form or another related to citizenship through parents are not germane to only the Bahamas or even the Caribbean. We need to have more conversations about how antiquated laws can catch up with today’s society, where people cross borders and have children,” the Florida lawmaker said.
This article originally appeared in The Florida Star.