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DeSantis reveals concerning discovery on Haitian migrant boat

via NBC News

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that state law enforcement recently intercepted a vessel carrying 25 Haitian migrants approaching the Florida coast.

The boat contained firearms, drugs, and night vision gear.

DeSantis signed legislation increasing penalties for unlicensed driving and crimes committed by deported illegal immigrants.

“Our Florida Fish and Wildlife offices interdicted a vessel that had 25 illegal immigrants, potential illegal immigrants from Haiti in their boat. In their vessel they had firearms, they had drugs, they had night vision gear and were boating very recklessly, which would potentially endanger other folks,” DeSantis said.

“That vessel was interdicted near the Sebastian Inlet and those illegal aliens were turned over to the Coast Guard for deportation,” he said.

“The message is the last thing you should want to do is get on a boat and think you’re going to come through from any of these islands to get to the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “The most likely scenario is you’ll be stopped, and you will be returned to your country of origin.”

“It’s a hazardous journey, it’s not worth doing, and we have the resources to continue to keep the people of Florida safe.”

This interdiction occurred as Florida deployed additional National Guard and law enforcement personnel and aircraft to the state’s coast in response to unrest in Haiti fueling concerns about increased sea migration.

The Biden administration has stressed migration flows remain low but warned those intercepted would face immediate repatriation.

While monitoring the situation, the Defense Department is alert to the potential for a mass migration event from Haiti given the country’s deteriorating conditions, but large numbers have not materialized.

“I think you’re right that the driving conditions in Haiti could very well press more people,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Rebecca Zimmerman said to Rep. Matt Gaetz. “We recently approved some additional assistance we could provide to the Coast Guard.”

“U.S. policy is to return noncitizens who do not have a fear of persecution or torture or a legal basis to enter the United States. Those interdicted at sea are subject to immediate repatriation pursuant to our longstanding policy and procedures. The United States returns or repatriates migrants interdicted at sea to The Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti,” a spokesperson said.

Florida officials stopped over 13,500 migrants since January on the premise that attempting to reach the state by boat is highly dangerous and unlikely to succeed.

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