Haitian migrants swam to Florida shore after wooden boat ran aground, officials report
Initial sightings on Sunday claimed somewhere between 150 and 200 people were on board the vessel in Key Largo.
More than 150 Haitian migrants arrived in the Florida Keys by any means necessary after their wooden boat ran aground on Sunday afternoon.
The report from The Miami Herald estimates that initial sightings claimed somewhere between 150 and 200 people were on board the vessel, which stopped in the shallow water at the Ocean Reef Club, a private golf club and marina in Key Largo. That number may be as high as 300.
“#BREAKINGNEWS: SMUGGLERS OVERLOAD VESSEL!,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Agent Walter N. Slosar wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “#BorderPatrol agents & partner agencies are responding to another dangerous situation in the #FloridaKeys involving approx. 300 migrants…many in need of medical attention, 163 of them swam to shore.”
In an official tweet from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Southeast, the migration is being called a “suspected smuggling venture.”
The Herald noted that this is the third large group of migrants from Haiti that has attempted to enter the United States in the last week. Two groups were stopped and detained on Sunday morning and Friday morning off the coast of the Bahamas.
Two other groups arrived at Ocean Reef previously, one last Christmas Eve and the other in January.
As previously reported by theGrio, the world was shocked last September to see images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback with whips wrangling Haitian migrants.
A video shared by Al Jazeera showed Haitians trying to get back in a migrant camp in Texas after sneaking into Mexico to buy food because there wasn’t enough for them at the site.
The unidentified border patrol agent accused the Haitians, saying, “You use your women? This is why your country’s s**t because you use your women for this.”
Associated Press reported last year that thousands of Haitians were released from the Texas camp into the U.S. with notices to appear at local immigration offices.
As reported by theGrio contributor Wen-kuni Ceant, Haitians have been fleeing their country due to an array of conditions, including the effects of the 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 2,000 people; Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.
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