396 Haitian migrants detained on 50-foot boat near Bahamas
FILE- Coast Guard stops 49 Haitian migrants near Cuba. (Photo: Miami Herald)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The US Coast Guard has detained a boat carrying 396 Haitian migrants near the Bahamas in one of the biggest human smuggling incidents in the region, Bahamian officials said.

The migrants were detained close to the far-flung Cay Sal island located between Florida and Cuba, immigration officials in the Bahamas said in a statement Sunday.

They said the migrants will be processed on the Bahamian island of Inagua and later repatriated.

Nicole Groll, a US Coast Guard spokeswoman, told The Associated Press on Monday that the interdiction happened Saturday afternoon and involved a 50-foot boat.

“It was grossly overloaded and very much unsafe,” she said.

No further details were immediately available.

Thousands of Haitians are fleeing a spike in gang violence and deepening political instability in a country that currently has no democratically elected institutions.

Many travel to the Bahamas and other nearby islands in hopes of eventually reaching Florida. The voyages are often deadly, with migrants crowding into makeshift vessels that have capsized in recent months.

The exodus comes as the administration of US President Joe Biden recently announced that it would start turning back Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans at the Texas border who arrive illegally. The administration is now offering humanitarian parole for 30,000 people a month from those countries if they secure a financial sponsor, apply online and pay their airfare.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: [email protected].
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: [email protected].
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy