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DeSantis Mobilises Florida to Stop Haitian Migrants

Haitian migrants have long attempted the perilous journey to Florida by boat, prompting DeSantis to allocate state resources to the Keys last year in a bid to deter migration…reports Asian Lite News

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has taken decisive action amid concerns of a potential influx, deploying over 250 law enforcement officers and soldiers to the Florida Keys. This move, prompted by what his office termed as the “possibility for invasion,” aims to prevent Haitian migrants fleeing violence, with nearly two personnel deployed for every Haitian migrant repatriated by the U.S. Coast Guard in the last five months.

Haitian migrants have long attempted the perilous journey to Florida by boat, prompting DeSantis to allocate state resources to the Keys last year in a bid to deter migration. However, recent spikes in violence in Haiti prompted Wednesday’s deployment of additional personnel, aircraft, and boats.

Despite these measures, the Coast Guard reports no notable increase in migrant traffic in Florida waters. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann clarified that resources are on standby should an influx occur.

The Governor’s office emphasised Florida’s right to defend itself from potential threats of invasion, underscoring the deployment’s necessity. The task force comprises officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as well as members of the Florida National Guard and Florida State Guard, patrolling the waters south of the state’s southern Peninsula.

Immigration has been a central theme for Governor DeSantis, who previously directed state funds to transport migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to California and Venezuelan migrants from Florida to Massachusetts.

Recent gang violence has engulfed Haiti, prompting a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations reported severe food insecurity affecting millions, with armed gangs controlling much of Port-au-Prince since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021.

International efforts seek to stabilise Haiti, with proposals for a presidential council to facilitate interim leadership and pave the way for elections. However, some Haitian political factions remain sceptical of the plan’s efficacy.

Earlier this week, Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry had tendered his resignation to step down from his post after violence and looting loomed in the Caribbean nation, where gangs have been attacking government structures and social order is on the brink of collapse, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.

Haiti’s PM Ariel Henry, tendered his resignation following an emergency meeting of regional nations and appealed for calm as the country descends into chaos.

On Monday, in a video address, Henry said that his government would leave power after the establishment of a transitional council, adding, “Haiti needs peace. Haiti needs stability,” CNN reported.

“My government will leave immediately after the inauguration of the council. We will be a caretaker government until they name a prime minister and a new cabinet,” Henry said.

CNN reported quoting Haiti PM advisor Jean Junior Joseph, that Henry would remain in his role until the formation of a new interim government.

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