On August 6, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a human-smuggling ship just offshore Florida near Key Largo, carrying over 300 illegal aliens from Haiti. The ship had run aground in shallow waters.
According to Adam Hoffner, division chief for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Miami operations,113 illegals jumped in and swam ashore. Those who made land were taken into Border Patrol custody and then medically screened. The 218 illegal aliens who remained on the smuggling vessel were transferred to U.S. Coast Guard ships and, according to the Miami Herald, will likely be sent back to Haiti.
Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar said that the incident was being treated as a “national security mission,” and that authorities were still trying to identify the human smugglers among those who had been on board.
Border Patrol Agent Adam Hoffner told NBC News that the smugglers responsible “treat the individuals like a commodity, and the more on the boat, the more money and profit they make.”
Hoffner noted that U.S. Border Patrol has dealt with 16 illegal landings since August 4, resulting in the detention of 263. These Florida encounters do not include maritime interdictions, such as the recent July incidents near Boca Chita Key (where 163 Haitian illegal aliens were stopped and repatriated) and off Delray Beach (where 32 Haitian illegal aliens were prevented from making land).
Over 800 Haitians have landed illegally in the Florida Keys so far this year, while 2,953 Haitian migrants have been interdicted at sea since October 2021.
There have been numerous incidents like these since the Biden administration released thousands of Haitian illegal immigrants — previously housed at the encampment Del Rio, Texas — into the U.S. interior, despite claims that it would expel them from the country. The administration did, however, expel 4,000 Haitians on 36 deportation flights in May.
The assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Mo?se has made the Caribbean nation more volatile, which may prompt more U.S.-bound migration.