Hundreds of Cuban and Haitian migrants repatriated as Florida steps up patrols

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities confirmed that 187 migrants were repatriated to Cuba and another 83 to Haiti on Monday after hundreds more were sent home over the weekend.

But the migrants keep coming.

Local 10 met a Cuban woman, who arrived in Key Largo on Sunday after spending eight days at sea.

Following the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, a multi-agency operation has been established in the Florida Keys, allowing the National Guard and other state law enforcement, such as the Florida Highway Patrol and Department of State Florida Law Enforcement, help out.

The Monroe County mayor says they can desperately use the help.

“I think as this information reaches Cuba and the Caribbean, it will deter some of the migrants from coming here,” Mayor Craig Cates said.

The American Civil Liberties Union responded to the state’s response, saying in part: “We cannot turn our backs on people who seek protection from violence and persecution.”

President Joe Biden met with the Mexican President on Monday after visiting the southern border over the weekend, his first time since taking office.

Biden highlighted his immigration plan, which includes a new policy now in place to begin returning Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans at the Texas border, along with Venezuelans, who arrive illegally.

The administration also said that would offer humanitarian parole for up to 30,000 people a month from those four countries if they apply online, pass a background check, pay for their airfare, and find a financial sponsor.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas says the president’s plan is way behind schedule.

“This is two years and about $20 billion too late,” Abbott said.

USA Congressman and former Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Giménez added that it has taken the president two years and more than 5 million illegal migrant crossings to address the border crisis.

More than 4,400 migrants, mostly Cubans with some Haitians, have arrived by boat in Florida since August as those two countries grapple with a deepening political and economic crisis. Because Washington and Havana do not have diplomatic relations, it is problematic for the US government to send Cubans back once they arrive in Florida.

Those who are detained at sea are already back, since Cuba will accept those people. Nearly 8,000 Cubans and Haitians have been intercepted since August, about 50 a day compared to 17 a day in the 2021-22 fiscal year and just two a day during the 2020-21 fiscal year. Authorities said at least 65 migrants have died at sea since August.

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