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Press Release | June 6, 2023

Departments of State, Homeland Security host Haitian journalists in Florida to report on maritime migration

Editor’s Note: 
All Coast Guard Southeast imagery can be found on Dvids, here.   

MIAMI – Five journalists from Haitian media outlets visited south Florida last month for a week of scheduled engagements coordinated by the U.S. Embassy staff in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast staff.  

The visit informed the journalists’ reporting on Haitian migration to the U.S. and enhanced their familiarization with the Task Force’s mission to prevent and deter irregular, unlawful maritime migration to south Florida.  

During the week-long engagement, the visiting journalists were briefed on Operation Vigilant Sentry by members of the HSTF-SE joint information center and embarked a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft for a patrol over the Florida Straits. They also met with reporters from south Florida media outlets who cover immigration, engaged with non-governmental organizations and other government agencies that support the migrant community in south Florida, and attended cultural events during Haitian Flag Day in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami-Dade County.  

“This engagement provided an opportunity for Haitian journalists to accurately report on the latest U.S. immigration policy updates and the truth about the perilous risks of irregular maritime migration to reach potential migrant populations within Haiti,” said the U.S. Embassy in Haiti’s Chargé d'Affaires Eric Stromayer. “The visit allowed Haitian journalists to hear directly from U.S. federal law enforcement agencies about their lifesaving and border protection missions, resolved misconceptions over U.S. immigration policy for Haitians, and facilitated professional development and relationship-building opportunities with other stakeholders in south Florida.”  

As a result of the visit, the journalists released more than 20 multi-media products to audiences in Haiti, updating them on the latest DHS policy announcements surrounding the end of Title 42, and included messages in Haitian Creole about the risks involved in taking to sea aboard unsafe, overloaded vessels.  

HSTF-SE crews routinely encounter overloaded migrant vessels navigating in hazardous conditions attempting to enter the U.S. through maritime routes in the Florida Straits and Caribbean.  

“We urge anyone planning to migrate irregularly to the U.S. not to take to the sea; use the safe and lawful pathways made available to Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans via the immigration parole process announced in January,” said Mr. Shawn Koch, DHS Chief of Staff for Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast. “Irregular maritime migration is always dangerous and very often deadly. Anyone attempting to enter the U.S. unlawfully by sea will be rescued and repatriated, or apprehended ashore and processed for removal, and will further be disqualified from lawful immigration options in the future.”  

As of April 28, 2023, migrants interdicted at sea who attempt to migrate into the U.S. by irregular means, are ineligible for the Cuban and Haitian parole processes announced in January.  

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