More Than 170 Haitian Migrants Arrived in the Florida Keys in Overloaded Sailboat, Coast Guard Says
Another group of Haitian migrants has made its way through the Florida Straits for the third time in many months.
A total of 176 persons arrived near the shores of the exclusive gated community of Ocean Reef in North Key Largo at around 11 p.m. Sunday.
Coast guards found the boat in almost the same area where two other watercraft arrived from Haiti carrying big groups of refugees.
Reports said this was the biggest group of Haitians to pass through the Florida Straits since boats started arriving again last November after more than a two-year hiatus.
The migrants' arrival in the Florida Keys coincides with an increase in Haitian migrant activity following the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise on July 7 and an increase in gang criminality and kidnappings.
It also happened after the deadly August 14 earthquake in the southern region of Haiti, where recovery has been hampered by ongoing violent clashes between warring gangs at Port-au-Prince's southern entrance.
Haitian Migrants Escorted Out of the Florida Area by Border Patrol Agents
Eleven Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units went near Ocean Reef Club after receiving reports of over 100 persons on board, with around 20 people requiring medical attention.
Border Patrol agents escorted the migrants out of the area. Officials said 20 people were treated by paramedics at the site, while four people, two adults and two children, were transported to a hospital.
Division chief with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in South Florida Adam Hoffner said Border Patrol agents rushed to the Ocean Reef area at around 12:20 a.m. Monday.
In a statement, he called the arrival of the Haitians "a maritime smuggling event involving a large group of migrants," who "made landfall." Hoffner noted that the investigation regarding this incident is ongoing.
Migrants From Haiti Continues to Arrive in Florida
Several migrants told U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers that 63 Haitian migrants arrived aboard a rickety wooden sailboat in the Upper Florida Keys last November 18 after spending three weeks at sea. The second group of 52 migrants landed on Card Sound Road in Key Largo on Christmas eve.
As of January 6, the International Organization for Migration said the U.S. had already sent 13,320 Haitians back to their country through 125 Immigration and Customs Enforcement charter flights.
The Biden administration began sending the Haitian migrants back in their country in September when the administration announced it was ramping up deportations to Haiti after thousands of migrants arrived at the southern border.
While the majority of the migrants from the two previous boats have been released from detention, they still face deportation to Haiti under U.S. immigration law, according to immigration lawyers.
Much of the migration occurs by improvised boats across Mona Passage, which connects Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
After Dominicans, Haitians are the second-largest group the U.S. Coast Guard intercepts, crossing the Mona Passage.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Jess Smith
WATCH: Unrest In Haiti & Cuba Driving More Migrants To Try Dangerous Journey To Shore Along The Coast - From CBS Miami
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