Boat with 25 migrants from Haiti interdicted off Florida

A boat carrying 25 migrants from Haiti was recently interdicted by Florida law enforcement, state officials said Friday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Florida Fish and Wildlife officers intercepted the vessel “within the last couple of weeks.”

“In their boat, in their vessel, they had firearms, they had drugs, they had night vision gear and were boating very recklessly, which would potentially endanger other folks,” DeSantis said at a press conference.

DeSantis said the boat was interdicted near the Sebastian inlet, and the migrants were turned over to the Coast Guard for deportation.

Florida Fish and Wildlife released a statement acknowledging that officers had intercepted a boat carrying “multiple illegal Haitian immigrants, guns, drugs and night vision equipment” on Feb. 29. After stopping the vessel, officers “immediately” knew they had “intercepted a human smuggling operation,” the agency said.

On Thursday, DeSantis announced Florida would deploy additional law enforcement resources to the southern regions of the state in anticipation of a possible wave of Haitian migrants as the country struggles with street violence and political instability.

The Florida governor, speaking at a press conference, said he signed three bills that target illegal immigration in the state. He also said the state had been looking at boats before the announcement Thursday and law enforcement is going to “continue to do it.”

DeSantis criticized the federal government for failing to take responsibility and said it is “not really” Florida’s responsibility to increase its resources to combat the influx of migrants.

“We’ve got an incredible amount of resources that are now on display,” he said, later adding that the “Coast Guard does by and large a good job but they’re undermanned, they’re under resourced, so we’re filling those gaps.”

DeSantis used the speech to slam President Biden for his border policies, and said migrants from all over the world, as well as Haiti, are going to have an easier time entering the United States by “walking across the border” than anywhere else because they know that “Biden will just let everybody in.”

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