PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Charge d’Affaires Eric Stromayer hosted Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District and director of Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast (HSTF-SE), during his March 6-7 visit to Port-au-Prince. During the Admiral’s stay he met with the Haitian National Police and Haitian Coast Guard Commandant to express gratitude for their close coordination in working to prevent and deter dangerous maritime migration departures from Haiti.
The U.S. Embassy staff in Port-au-Prince work closely with the Seventh Coast Guard District staff and HSTF-SE partners to promote regional maritime security and encourage safe, legal pathways for Haitian immigration to the United States.
HSTF-SE and the U.S. Coast Guard continuously patrol the Florida Straits, Windward and Mona passes to prevent and deter illegal maritime migration to the continental United States and its territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Migrants who attempt to reach the U.S. illegally by sea will be repatriated to their country of origin or departure and may become ineligible to participate in the new Humanitarian Parole program that allows for lawful entry, residence and permission to work in the United States.
“Illegal maritime travel in the Caribbean is always dangerous and very often deadly,” said Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson. “Smugglers routinely exploit vulnerable migrants for profit while putting their lives at risk aboard overloaded and unseaworthy vessels. These dangerous voyages must not be attempted. Safe, legal, and orderly migration saves lives.”
According to the United Nations International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project, migrant deaths and disappearances in the Caribbean reached a record high of 321 in 2022. IOM reported that most of the migrants who died or went missing were from Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The main cause of death was drowning, mostly due to bad weather conditions that make navigation difficult, and the use of makeshift vessels in poor condition or that are not designed to cross open oceans. The Missing Migrants Project specified that a significant number of the recorded incidents occurred along sea routes that lead from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The U.S. Coast Guard has a longstanding relationship with the Haitian Coast Guard that includes training programs, humanitarian aid and migrant repatriation agreements. In Haiti, the U.S. Coast Guard has responded to humanitarian disasters, assisted Haitian security forces, and rescued countless Haitians in peril on the seas. Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson’s visit reaffirms the U.S. Coast Guard’s commitment to protecting the United States and supporting the Haitian people.
For more information about the newly announced immigration programs:
- Fact Sheet: Biden/Harris Administration announces new border enforcement actions
- Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks on DHS’s Continued Preparation for the End of Title 42 and Announcement of New Border Enforcement Measures and Additional Safe and Orderly Processes
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans
For more information on the U.S. strategy for engagement in the Caribbean, follow this link.