It was grossly overloaded and very much unsafe.U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Nicole Groll on a boat holding 396 people from Haiti which was stopped by the Coast Guard on Saturday. The boat, which was likely headed towards the Florida Keys, was intercepted near a remote island about 30 miles from Cuba.
Background: An influx of people from Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua have sought to cross the U.S. border in recent months in the wake of disease, gang violence, and political instability. As record numbers of people have sought entry at the U.S. southwestern border, the government implemented a new and expanded humanitarian parole program in January, allowing up to 30,000 Haitians, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans into the U.S. provided they apply online, have a sponsor in the U.S., etc., while also expelling up to 30,000 who attempt to enter the U.S. illegally. On Sunday, CBP emphasized, “… citizens from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti who attempt to cross our border without a legal pathway will be expelled to Mexico, swiftly. If expelled, you will no longer be eligible for the program.”
Why It Matters: The interception of nearly 400 people from Haiti who were traveling by boat is not unprecedented; the Coast Guard has stopped more than 2,000 Haitians traveling by boat since early October. Had this boat not been intercepted prior to reaching the Florida Keys, it would have been the largest landing of people attempting entry into the U.S. in the area in decades, the Miami Herald reports. The Coast Guard said the people found on the boat are being transported to authorities in the Bahamas.
Learn About How This Intercept Happened Here: Coast Guard stops boat with 400 Haitians off the Bahamas and likely headed to Florida (Miami Herald)
U.S. Coast Guard’s video of the boat (Twitter)
by Jenna Lee,