Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haitians Continue to Risk their Lives at Sea

The United States Coast Guard repatriated 102 Haitian nationals back to Haiti. This new development is a sign that Haiti is not and won’t be ready to welcome back thousands of its citizens from the United States in the next few months. Two months ago, Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) extended Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals for six months instead of the usual 18 months.  Haitian activists, U.S. lawmakers and immigration advocates continue to urge  Secretary John Kelly to extend TPS for at least 18 months for Haiti.

For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website.

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U.S. Coast Guard repatriates 102 fleeing Haitian migrants to Haiti

By: Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

July 12, 2017

In what it’s calling its largest interdiction of Haitians at sea in more than a year, the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday repatriated 102 migrants back to Haiti.
The migrants were interdicted Tuesday approximately 22 miles south of Great Inagua, Bahamas, and taken to Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti.
“The Caribbean and Florida Straits are dangerous and unforgiving for migrants on illegal and ill-advised voyages in overloaded vessels,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, chief of response for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “The Coast Guard and its partner agencies continue to maintain a strong presence along our maritime border and will continue to interdict and rescue those who embark on these illegal voyages in unsafe vessels such as this one.”

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard has interdicted 1,028 Haitian migrants attempting to illegally migrate to the United States aboard rickety vessels, compared to 1,872 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2016.
The large number of Haitians risking their lives at sea comes as Brazil, Chile and the Turks and Caicos have in recent months restricted legal Haitian migration, and the U.S has tightened its border with Mexico. The southwestern U.S. border had become the preferred entry point for thousands of Haitians who had shunned the Florida Straits, instead making a staggering 7,000-mile journey that starts in Brazil and traverses 11 countries in South and Central America.

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