Coast Guard Commandant: Migration at Sea Has Increased – Migrants See ‘Potential Signals’ That ‘There’s an Opportunity’ to Come to U.S.

On Monday’s broadcast of ABC’s “GMA3,” U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz said there has been a recent increase in migration at sea to the U.S. from Haiti, and that he thinks Haitians “see some potential signals that make them think, hey, there’s an opportunity to come to the United States.”

Schultz said, “It’s sort of two separate things going on there. So, we have had an uptick in migration at sea in recent weeks here. Almost 1,000 Haitians at sea, for us, it’s 150, 200 people in a 35-foot Haitian sailboat. That’s a potential disaster with tremendous loss of life. We will intercept those Haitians at sea, and working through diplomatic channels, generally repatriate them to their home country. What we saw down in Del Rio were Haitians that had been displaced back in 2010 in the earthquake, when more than 200,000, almost a quarter of a million people left Haiti, went to Peru, went to Argentina, I believe went to Chile, different parts of South America. Some things are changing. I think they see some potential signals that make them think, hey, there’s an opportunity to come to the United States. So, there’s sort of the Del Rio camp that are Haitians that left years ago, we’re focused on the migration at sea. We try to really prevent tragedy at sea. Because any one of those situations can go really bad real quick.”

Schultz also stated that migration to the U.S. will continue until conditions in the country improve.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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