Fact check: Coast Guard continues to intercept and return individuals who illegally enter the country by sea

U.S. Coast Guard crews are still actively intercepting and sending back foreign nationals who are trying to illegally enter the United States off the coast of Florida, despite recent claims stating otherwise.

After witnessing a significant increase in illegal activity during the period surrounding New Year’s Eve 2022 and New Year’s Day 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis took swift action by declaring a state of emergency and disaster in January 2023. He promptly deployed the National Guard and other state resources to address the situation. According to law enforcement officials, the number of unauthorized entries by sea experienced a notable decline following these measures. It is worth noting that throughout the previous year, attempts to illegally enter the state via the sea had remained relatively low.

In response to the political unrest in Haiti earlier this year, and the anticipated arrival of a significant number of Haitians by sea along the Florida coast, Governor DeSantis mobilized state resources to southern Florida in March, as reported by The Center Square. Despite concerns about a potential surge of illegal Haitian immigrants entering by sea, this influx has not yet materialized.

The U.S. Coast Guard 7th District in South Florida remains vigilant in patrolling for illegal entry and intercepting those attempting to enter the country unlawfully. Despite a decrease in interdiction numbers, their efforts to apprehend and repatriate offenders continue to be highlighted and communicated to the public.

According to a fellow from the Center for Immigration Studies, there are allegations that the Coast Guard has been given specific instructions not to intercept boats coming from Haiti. Instead, they are instructed to simply follow the boats until they reach land to ensure their safety. The reason behind this alleged policy is that the United States has decided not to repatriate Haitian migrants back to Haiti. This has raised concerns about the effectiveness of the Coast Guard’s operations in dealing with this situation.

Read More:  Former Obama Strategist Reveals Joe Biden's Behavior is Frustrating

Multiple sources, including the USCG, have fact-checked the claim and found it to be false.

“The Coast Guard and its partner agencies are committed to maintaining a heightened state of readiness and will continue to rescue and repatriate all individuals involved in unauthorized maritime journeys, irrespective of their nationality,” stated a representative from the Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Team. As of April, in fiscal year 2024, a total of 118 Haitians and 348 Cubans have been repatriated by the Coast Guard, as per the most recent data provided to The Center Square.”

The Coast Guard actively promotes its perilous sea interdiction work through social media channels and news releases.

In the month of May, there were several noteworthy interdiction events. One particular weekend saw the successful efforts of two U.S. Coast Guard cutters, who managed to intercept and apprehend a total of 92 foreign nationals in four separate incidents. These incidents highlight the constant vigilance and commitment of the U.S. Coast Guard in safeguarding our borders.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark has successfully repatriated 23 Cubans after conducting two separate interdictions near Key West and in an area southwest of Marquesas, Florida. Lt. J.G. Nicholas Fujimoto, from the Coast Guard Seventh District Enforcement Branch, emphasized the ongoing efforts of the Coast Guard and its Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners in maintaining a strong presence in the air and on the waters to detect and deter migrants from attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. by sea. He further added that, according to Title 8, migrants who arrive without authorization will be repatriated and considered ineligible for legal immigration pathways.

Read More:  Photos of suspects involved in fatal shooting at Mount Eden subway station released by NYPD

On May 22, the crew successfully repatriated 31 Cubans after intercepting them multiple times in the Florida Straits. The interdictions took place in various locations, including near Key West and southwest of Marquesas, Florida, as well as 23 miles north of Matanzas, Cuba, and 23 miles south of Plantation Key, Florida.

The Paul Clark successfully repatriated 26 Cubans on May 17 following interdiction efforts near the Florida Keys. They had also repatriated 23 Cubans on May 14 after two separate interdictions near Key West, Florida, specifically 12 miles south of Marquesas and 26 miles south of Marathon.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Tanner Stiehl, Coast Guard Seventh District Staff Attorney, the Coast Guard and our HSTF-SE partners are actively maintaining a strong presence in the Windward Passage, Mona Passage, and Florida Straits. This enhanced posture serves as a deterrent against repeated unlawful attempts to emigrate to the U.S. Furthermore, those who engage in these actions can face prosecution and become ineligible for legal migration pathways.

The Coast Guard’s efforts in the Florida Straits and surrounding areas have seen a decrease in the number of interdictions. However, these interdictions are still a regular occurrence, albeit in smaller numbers compared to the data from fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Coast Guard records indicate that between October 1, 2022, and May 17, 2023, Coast Guard crews came across or intercepted a total of 6,679 Cubans and 4,473 Haitians. This information was previously reported by The Center Square.

In fiscal 2021, the Coast Guard successfully apprehended a total of 1,527 Haitians, marking a significant increase from the previous year’s figure of 418. This trend continued in fiscal 2019, with 932 Haitians apprehended, followed by 609 in fiscal 2018 and 419 in fiscal 2017. The Coast Guard’s efforts to intercept and detain individuals attempting to enter the country illegally have been steadily escalating over the years.

Read More:  DEA bust reveals euthanasia drug disguised as heroin on the market

According to a report by The Center Square, the number of Cubans apprehended by authorities in different fiscal years has varied significantly. In fiscal year 2021, a total of 838 Cubans were apprehended, while in fiscal year 2020, the number was significantly lower at 49. In fiscal year 2019, the authorities apprehended 313 Cubans, followed by 259 in fiscal year 2018. The highest number of apprehensions occurred in fiscal year 2017, with a total of 1,468 Cubans being apprehended. The year with the highest number of apprehensions was fiscal year 2016, with a staggering 5,396 Cubans being apprehended by authorities.

Miami Sector Border Patrol agents, as reported by The Center Square, were also involved in interdiction efforts. These efforts are not included in the aforementioned numbers.

Leave a Comment