FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, file photo, migrants, many from Haiti, are seen at an encampment along the Del Rio International Bridge near the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
UPDATED 8:42 AM PT – Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Karl Schultz, said Haitian migrants are seeing an opportunity to come into the U.S. and are seizing it. During an interview, the admiral said the Coast Guard is being spread thin as it responds to disasters across America. One major disaster, specifically, is the surge in migrants from Haiti.
Schultz said Haitians are fleeing their own country because they see an opportunity to get into the U.S. He went on to say Haitians are putting their lives on the line as they believe if they make it to America soil then they will be home free.
“So, we have had an uptick in migration at sea in recent weeks here,” said the admiral. “Almost 1,000 Haitians at sea…for us, it’s 150- 200 people in a 35-foot Haitian sailboat. That’s a potential disaster with tremendous loss of life. We will intercept those Haitians at sea and, working through diplomatic channels, generally repatriate them to their home country.”
Schultz added, the other Haitians who are attempting to enter the U.S. in Del Rio, Texas are mostly coming from South American countries, which they fled to after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He said the migrants are now coming to the U.S. because “some things are changing.”
” What we saw down in Del Rio were Haitians that had been displaced back in 2010 in the earthquake when more than 200,000, almost a quarter of a million people, left Haiti,” he explained.”(They) went to Peru, went to Argentina, I believe went to Chile, different parts of South America. Some things are changing. I think they see some potential signals that make them think, ‘hey, there’s an opportunity to come to the United States.’ So, there’s sort of the Del Rio camp that are Haitians that left years ago.”
Schultz also warned the increased flow of Haitian migrants to the U.S. through unsafe modes have the potential to “go really bad, real quick.”