In little more than seven days, almost 500 Haitians have been intercepted upon arrival on the Florida coast aboard overcrowded boats, an unequivocal sign of a migration crisis to which the United States only responds with deportations, according to organizations from that community in Miami.
It is a “desperate flight” from the chaos and rampant violence that reign in Haiti, where there is a “de facto and criminal government that is supported by the United States,” Marleine Bastien, the founder and executive director of the organization based in Haiti, told Efe. in Miami Family Action Network Movement (FANM).
On March 14, 123 Haitians were apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) troops, with the help of the Coast Guard and other federal and local agencies, after landing in a residential area in the Florida Keys (USA).RELATED
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This operation took place after the authorities intercepted 356 Haitians on March 6 off the coast of Cayo Largo, another city in this group of islands in the extreme south of the state. As in the previous case, the Haitians were aboard a crowded and fragile boat.
“People in Haiti want to live in peace, but they are fleeing because their country has been turned into hell,” says Bastien after warning that the fragile boats packed with Haitians “will keep coming.”
The community leader demanded that the Administration of President Joe Biden grant Haitians political asylum status instead of opting for deportation once they reach US shores.
Political crisis and violence
Since last October 1, 2021, that is, when the current fiscal year began, US Coast Guard troops have intercepted 1,577 undocumented Haitians at sea, a figure already higher than the total of 1,527 for the entire previous fiscal period.
The data goes hand in hand with the political crisis that arose in the Caribbean nation after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, which occurred on July 7 last year at his residence in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Suspicion falls on the current Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, for his alleged involvement in Moïse’s murder, hence Bastien’s criticism of the US government working with the current Haitian leader.
“(Henry) is involved in the assassination and is supported by the US”, which contributes to the instability of Haiti, criticized the activist, who also alluded to the economic crisis, with inflation of 24%, and the increase in kidnappings and murders by the increasingly powerful gangs.
A report by the United Nations Security Council revealed last February that these criminal groups have taken over more territory and have caused “a catastrophic impact on the Haitian economy,” in addition to posing a threat to the fundamental rights of the eleven million citizens of that country.
The document reflects that between the months of September and December of last year in Haiti more than 500 people have been murdered, including 40 women.
“Day in and day out there, you just hear rounds and rounds and rounds of bullets, like semi-automatic rifles, between the police officers and the gang members,” Regine Theodat, a Haitian-American who migrated to South Florida, told WLRN South Florida public radio. Dominican Republic after the 400 Mawozo gang murdered her husband in Croix-des-Bouquets.
Bastien pointed out that many of the weapons in the possession of the gangs come from the United States and that is why he asked the Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, to address this issue during a meeting he held last year in Miami with members of the local Haitian community. .
“The first thing you have to do is stop the flow of weapons, because if you want to help, security comes first,” says the director of FANM, whose headquarters are located in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, where most of the Haitian community in the United States.
The Haitian migration crisis, which also extends to the southern border of the United States and Mexico, has prompted reactions from congressmen in Washington, as is the case of Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Members of the senator’s team of Cuban origin were on Tuesday in the city of Hialeah, west of Miami, helping Haitian immigrants, as well as Cubans, Venezuelans and Ukrainians, to start the procedures for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
“We must ensure that those seeking refuge are treated with dignity and in accordance with the rule of law. We have seen time and time again the discriminatory treatment of Black and Haitian immigrants at our borders: this must end,” the Congresswoman for Florida Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, daughter of Haitians who emigrated to the United States.
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