While most coverage of illegal immigration focuses on the southwest border, the southern coast has also been experiencing increases in illegal attempts to enter the U.S.
In the last fiscal year — which ended on Sept. 30 — U.S. authorities encountered 5,585 Haitians, 3,940 Cubans and hundreds of other nationals from the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries attempting to illegally enter the United States, the Coast Guard revealed in an Associated Press report.
According to the AP, that’s an increase of at least 3,000 people intercepted over the prior year. It’s the highest number of Haitians in five years and highest number of Cubans in the past six years.
So far for this fiscal year, authorities have encountered more than 1,920 Caribbean migrants — a number the Coast Guard tells the AP it fears will only increase given news about President Obama’s executive amnesty.
“Any perceived changes to U.S. immigration policy can cause a spike in immigration because it gives a glimmer of hope,” 7th District U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor told the AP, noting that even ineligible immigrants perceive that glimmer.
Still other factors could be at play including political issues and poverty. Also, U.S. officials have also pointed to the lack of tropical storms in the Caribbean this year and the idea that law enforcement has gotten better at intercepting would-be illegal immigrants to the U.S.