Pentagon On Alert for Immigration Crisis as Haiti’s Turmoil Escalates

Pentagon officials have warned that America may end up facing a secondary immigration crisis, fueled by thousands of Haitians leaving the country, an issue worsened by Congress’s inability to pass a border deal. Here’s the full story.

Florida’s Changing Tide

Earlier in the week, U.S. officials were confident that Haitian migrants would not be coming over to South Florida’s shores. One official said, “We have not seen any indications of a mass movement of people north, a tell that a mass migration by sea could take place.” Six days later, the reports coming from Florida painted a different picture.

Border agents in Florida have reportedly been told to prepare for the worst and have been placed on high alert, as Haiti is currently locked in a violent takeover, a government breakdown, and a collapse of law and order. 

Prime Minister’s Exit

Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, has agreed to step down after 1000 Haitians were killed, kidnapped, or injured just this month. A leaked internal email from border agents has revealed that any migrants fleeing from Haiti caught arriving in Florida illegally would likely not receive punishment or deportation “for the foreseeable future.” 

The email reads, “If this is the case, then the Coast Guard may not be stopping Haitian sail freighters. They will just be escorting them into land.” 

Haiti’s ongoing crisis, as well as this leaked email, have raised fears about a secondary migrant crisis, although Biden’s administration is attempting to prepare for it.

Florida Democrat Urges Swift Response

On Monday, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Florida Democrat, warned of a security risk in Florida if the government doesn’t respond quickly. Then, on Tuesday at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Matt Gaetz expressed concern about the possibility of a mass exodus of Haitian migrants to Flordia’s shores. 

He asked what the Biden administration was doing to combat this possibility, and Senior Pentagon official Rebecca Zimmerman responded, “I think you’re right, the driving conditions in Haiti could very well press more people. We’ve recently approved some additional assistance that we can provide to the Coast Guard.”  

Southern Command’s Readiness

Laura Richardson, the commander of the U.S Southern Command (in charge of homeland defense), echoed these sentiments, stating, “We are ready for a mass migration if we need to deal with a mass migration.”

However, Republicans remain unconvinced. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has taken a hardline approach against mass migration, suing the Biden administration over its handling of immigrants on the Mexico border. 

In 2021, when Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was killed, DeSantis rallied the National Guard after 130 Haitians entered southern Florida.  At that same time, tens of thousands of Haitians were attempting to flee to America.

Coast Guard’s Report

Early reports are coming from the U.S. Coast Guard News of smaller ships carrying Haitian migrants. 65 migrants were apprehended on March 7th, and were returned home on March 12th. While this is a small number, it hasn’t stopped Republicans from reacting.

DeSantis took to social media to announce that he has “directed the Division of Emergency Management, the Florida State Guard, and state law enforcement agencies to deploy over 250 additional officers and soldiers and over a dozen air and sea craft to the southern coast of Florida to protect our state. “

The situation in Haiti has been worsening since Moïse’s assassination. Ariel Henry was appointed Prime Minister but held off on holding an election, stating he was doing it for the nation’s security interests. 

This frustrated opposition leaders in Haiti, a country that hasn’t seen an election since 2016, and protests were rampant. However, the situation took a turn in late February when armed gangs freed thousands of prison inmates at two of the country’s major prisons. Gangs quickly seized control of the country’s only international airport, as well as burning down police stations.

Political Turmoil

Now Henry, who is stranded in Puerto Rico after being refused entry to Haiti by armed gangs in late January, has stated he would resign after the “installation of [a transition] council”; however, it remains to be seen when precisely this will happen. 

Gangs have been calling for his resignation and are now pushing to be part of any power-sharing deals. The country has been on the brink of a hunger crisis and has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world. The worry is that this will significantly worsen as this crisis continues.

The post Pentagon On Alert for Immigration Crisis as Haiti’s Turmoil Escalates first appeared on Swift Feed.

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