Gaetz leads push for Biden to take 'immediate' action on feared Haitian migrant crisis


FIRST ON FOX: Florida lawmakers, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, are calling for an "immediate" response from President Biden over concerns about a potential mass migration of Haitians coming to the country via boats -- days after the state’s governor surged personnel and aircraft to the coast.

The lawmakers, including Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Anna Paulina Luna and Daniel Webster, have written to Biden calling on him to exercise his authority to declare an "anticipated mass migration of aliens en route to, or arriving off the coast of, the United States."

The lawmakers say that urgent circumstances require an "immediate federal response."

The Caribbean nation has seen a significant escalation in violence as gangs have overrun the capital, burning police stations and attacking the main airport. Gangs have also raided some of the largest prisons, releasing thousands of inmates. It has renewed concerns that a wave of migration from the sea could soon follow.

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced an increase of personnel and aircraft to the Florida coast in light of unrest in Haiti. The deployment in Florida includes 48 additional National Guardsmen with four additional helicopters, 39 officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 30 additional Florida Highway Patrol officers with aircraft and drones, and 23 additional officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with eight additional seacraft, his office said.

Government officials have stressed that they have so far not seen that mass migration. On Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Rebecca Zimmerman told lawmakers that the Pentagon is "alert" to the possibility of a mass migration event, but it has also not yet seen large numbers.

"I think you’re right that the driving conditions in Haiti could very well press more people," she told Gaetz in a House hearing. "We recently approved some additional assistance we could provide to the Coast Guard."... (Read more)

Submitted 32 days ago

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