The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported that hundreds of Haitian migrants were taken into custody after arriving in the Florida Keys on Friday (Aug. 5) and Saturday (Aug. 6). Those fleeing Haiti traveled to the United States in 16 vessels. On Saturday, over 330 migrants were rescued by sailboats, according to CNN.
In a tweet showing video of the rescue, the Southeast branch of the United States Coast Guard said, “#BreakingNews @USCG, @mcsonews, @CBPAMO, @CBPSoutheast [and] other partner agencies are on scene with a grounded sailing vessel off Ocean Reef, #KeyLargo. We ask the public to please transit the area with caution and give rescue crews space. Updates will follow.”
In addition to the Haitian migrants, CBP Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Adam Hoffner confirmed 150 Cuban migrants were also in custody for using boats to enter the country. Last month, five Haitian migrants died attempting to make it to U.S. soil. Their bodies were found near Mona Island, an uninhabited land mass between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, according to the New York Post. Over 60 survivors, including two minors, were found on the island by the United States Coast Guard.
As for this weekend’s discovery, Father Edward Beck, a Roman Catholic priest who works with CNN as a religion commentator, asked that the migrants be treated with “compassion and justice.” He added, “People simply do not take these risks if they are not desperate and longing for a better life.” The number of undocumented people fleeing to the United States by boat has recently increased significantly, as reported by CBS Miami. “The US Coast Guard has encountered about 6,000 Haitian migrants between October and June. That is a nearly 300% increase over the previous fiscal year,” the outlet announced in a tweet.
As of yesterday (Aug. 7), CBP Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Hoffner said the organization was still processing migrants.