Tue, Jan 24, 2023 3:22 PM
By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
In the first three months of fiscal 2023, U.S. Coast Guard’s 7th District-Southeast crew apprehended and repatriated a record number of Haitians and Cubans attempting to illegally enter Florida by sea.
In the first three months of fiscal 2023, the Coast Guard apprehended 1,766 Haitians and 5,183 Cubans, it reported.
This is after a record 7,175 Haitians and 6,182 Cubans were apprehended in fiscal 2022.
By comparison, the Coast Guard apprehended 1,527 Haitians in fiscal 2021, 418 in fiscal 2020, 932 in fiscal 2019, 609 in fiscal 2018 and 419 in fiscal 2017.
It also apprehended 838 Cubans in fiscal 2021, 49 in fiscal 2020, 313 in fiscal 2019, 259 in fiscal 2018, 1,468 in fiscal 2017 and 5,396 in fiscal 2016.
Over the past several days, Coast Guard crews apprehended hundreds of Haitians and Cubans attempting to enter Florida illegally using rustic homemade vessels or sailboats.
On Tuesday, Robert Yered’s Coast Guard crew repatriated 65 Cubans to Cuba after apprehending them off the coast of Florida. Cutter Legare’s crew transferred 375 Haitians and two Cubans to the Bahamas after apprehending them in Bahamian waters.
In one interdiction, Cutter Legare's crew rescued 396 men, women, and children from one 50-foot vessel attempting to make it to Florida. They also rescued one person who fell into the water on Saturday, roughly 60 miles south of Andros Island, Bahamas.
Coast Guard Cutter Angela McShan's crew also rescued two Cubans on Anguilla Cay, Bahamas, on Sunday, after an Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry law enforcement aircrew spotted them waving from the island.
“Trying to land in the U.S. by sea can make people ineligible for parole opportunities, and you will be repatriated to your country of origin or departure," Lt. Matt Miller, Coast Guard District Seven, said in a statement. "Coast Guard and partner agency air and sea crews patrol all day, every day to ensure people return to their families alive."
On Sunday, Coast Guard Station Islamorada's crew stopped a rustic homemade vessel from illegally landing in the U.S. off of Key Largo, Florida. On board were single men of military age.
On Saturday, Cutter Angela Mcshan's crews repatriated 83 people to Cuba after apprehending several vessels 30 miles south of Bahia Honda State Park, 75 miles south of Dry Tortugas National Park, 25 miles north of Mariel, Cuba, and 30 miles northeast of Havana, Cuba.
After Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency at the beginning of the month after 500 people were apprehended over one weekend, the Department of Homeland Security last week announced it was expanding “legal pathways for those desiring to come to the United States and the associated penalties for those who enter the country illegally via maritime borders.”
“Cubans and Haitians who take to the sea and land on U.S. soil will be ineligible for the parole process and will be placed in removal proceedings. USCG and CBP maintain a continual presence with air and sea assets in the Florida Straits and in the Caribbean Sea. Those attempting to enter unlawfully by sea will be interdicted and repatriated, consistent with U.S. law, policies and international treaty obligations,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Irregular maritime migration aboard unseaworthy or overloaded vessels is always dangerous, and often deadly. We are steadfast in our commitment to saving lives and discouraging anyone from taking to the sea to irregularly migrate.”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, along with 13 other attorneys general, has called on Mayorkas to resign. Several members of Congress have called for him to be impeached and filed articles of impeachment, arguing he’s violated his oath of office and isn’t enforcing federal law established by Congress.
Despite Mayorkas maintaining for nearly two years that the U.S. borders are secure, 98 terrorists were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. in fiscal 2022 and 38 known terrorists were apprehended in the first three months of fiscal 2023, the greatest numbers on record.