1400 Migrants Captured at Sea, Along Florida Coast over New Year’s Weekend

U.S. Coast Guardsmen remove 427 apprehended migrants who made shore at the Dry Tortuga Nat
Homeland Security Taskforce -- Southeast

Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast law enforcement partners interdicted multiple sea-based human smuggling incidents leading to the capture of more than nearly 1,400 migrants over the New Year’s Weekend. The migrant arrests took place at sea and along the coast in the Florida Keys.

Law enforcement partners assigned to the Homeland Security Task Force — Southeast spent the New Year’s weekend apprehending nearly 1,400 migrants at sea and along the islands and coastal areas of the Florida Keys, according to a tweet from the agency. Many of these smuggling interdictions took place on heavily overloaded boats.

“Illegal maritime voyages in the Caribbean are always dangerous and very often deadly,” Rear Admiral Brendan C. McPherson, Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District and Director, HSTF-SE said in a written statement. “Smugglers routinely exploit vulnerable migrants for profit while putting their lives at risk aboard overloaded and un-seaworthy vessels. These dangerous voyages must not be attempted. Safe, legal, and orderly migration saves lives.”

The tweet above reports 364 migrants apprehended in a single incident at the Dry Tortugas National Park. By the conclusion of the incident, the count rose to 427 migrants removed from the island by U.S. Coast Guardsmen.

U.S. Border Patrol Miami Sector Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar tweeted a video showing an overloaded sailing vessel with more than 130 migrants onboard off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. Smugglers packed many of the migrants below deck placing them in life-threatening conditions.

Since the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2022, the Miami Sector experienced a 400 percent increase in migrant encounters, officials said in a written statement. Since August, the HSTF-SE interdicted 7,784 migrants at sea and 4,401 migrants who managed to land of Florida beaches. In addition, officials recovered the bodies of 65 migrants during all of FY22.

Human smugglers continue to use makeshift or homemade vessels to move migrants across the Caribbean Sea to the Florida coast.

During the first two months of the new Fiscal Year 23, Miami Sector agents apprehended 2,048 migrants. This is more than half of the total apprehensions for all of FY22 when agents took 4,009 migrants into custody, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nationwide Encounters report.

During the first two months of the previous year, agents only apprehended 336 migrants compared to the 2.048 in the same period this year — a 510 percent increase in this single sector. From the tweets above, it appears the official December numbers will greatly exceed those apprehended in November (1,122).

Between August and November 2022, Miami Sector agents apprehended 3,558 migrants. During the entire Fiscal Years 20 and 21 combined, these agents apprehended only 2,333 migrants.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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