Rep. Matt Gaetz (File)

Rep. Matt Gaetz Reveals Biden Admin May Use Navy To Stop Anticipated Haitian Migration Into Florida

Rep. Matt Gaetz (File)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (File)

During the House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday to examine the Department of Defense’s (DoD) activities in the Western Hemisphere and ongoing security challenges, Rebecca Zimmerman, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, acknowledged an anticipated mass migration from Haiti into the United States via Florida in response to questions from U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz.

In addition, General Laura Richardson, Commander of United States Southern Command, confirmed that the Biden administration will now consider using the Department of Defense and the United States Navy to halt the anticipated mass migration of Haitians into Florida.

Haitian Americans in Miami are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Haiti. To address the crisis, community leaders held a news conference in North Miami last week, voicing their demands and seeking the attention of the Biden/Harris administration.

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“So what’s the difference between Haiti and a failed state? It’s telling right we can’t really identify because the gangs are in charge, the government has been thrown out. And as a Florida man, I’m deeply concerned about this wave of people that we’re about to have that we are having coming from Haiti, and it will accelerate, because I’ve gone to Opa Locka. And I’ve spent time with the folks that are engaged in operation vigilance century. And they say the number one push factor that drives these Haitians into Broward County, Palm Beach County where they don’t disperse throughout the country. They stay in southeast Florida. That driving factor is the deterioration of conditions in Haiti. So what are we doing to prepare for that wave, and to ensure that these people are not paroled into the United States, as the administration has done with people on the southern border, but instead, are repatriated back at the dock at Port au Prince?” asked Gaetz.

“Congressman, we’re doing a number of things to ensure that we’re keeping track of the situation and we’re prepared at the moment we have not yet seen large numbers what we would characterize as as maritime mass migration. But we are alert to that is migration. We are we are alert to that possibility. I think you’re right, that the driving conditions in Haiti could very well press more people. So we’ve recently approved some additional assistance that we can provide to the Coast Guard, I think that that has now fully been approved, we’ll be providing notifications, if we haven’t already provided shipboard assist,” responded Zimmerman.

“Because I’ve talked to the Coast Guard, and what they say would really support them would be more naval vessels would be DoD support. And because I think you correctly said that there is an anticipated mass migration here, there are specific legal authorities that we can access that I would implore you to access, specifically George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13276. And in that executive order, there is the ability for any president to designate an anticipated mass migration, and that get gray haul naval vessels into the Straits of Florida to deter that migration and then to reach Patriot those people before they get to Florida. So general Richardson, is it your best military advice based on what we just heard from Zimmerman, that we activate the authorities anticipating a mass migration,” asked Gaetz.

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Richardson replied, “So I think that we need to be postured appropriately, for that is exactly what you’re talking about. And I have put in a request for increased capability to do exactly that. And and we are ready if a mass migration if we need to deal with a mass migration. We did a full walkthrough of our contingency plan on Gitmo last summer, with all of the interagency and all of my components.”

“When I talked to the Coast Guard folks, they seem to say that we don’t have to go drop these folks off at Gitmo where they they become a burden on the US taxpayer. We can interdict it see, and then repatriate directly at Port au Prince. When you say you’re preparing for that, does that specifically mean DoD assets?” Gaetz asked.

“So for what happens on a daily basis that the Coast Guard is doing and the repatriation under homeland security authorities back to cap-haitien happens on a daily basis,” said Richardson.

“Yeah, no, I got that. But what the when I go down to overlock and get eyeball to eyeball with these folks. They say congressman, we really could use the DoD assistance, not more money for the Coast Guard, not more meetings, conference calls and committees, but gray hole vessels in the Straits of Florida doing the interdictions doing the repatriations. So when you say you’re you’re anticipating that I think Zimmerman laid it out correctly. So given the the fact that any anticipated maritime mass migration is specifically contemplated pursuant to 46 USC 70051. Can I leave this discussion, believing that it will be your best military advice to the administration to utilize DoD assets for this purpose? General Richards,” Gaetz asked.

Richardson: I’m requested to do that. I will definitely do that.

Rep. Gaetz: No, I want you to make the request, not be requested. That’s what I’m trying to ascertain.

Richardson: Okay. Yes, Congressman.

Rep. Gaetz: Yes, you will make that request for DOD.

Richardson: I will talkwith district seven and our Coast Guard on the on the Atlantic side Atlantic area and see if they need additional Gray, DOD gray holes. They have not requested that specifically from SOUTHCOM. And so but if there’s a need for that, I would absolutely request it.

Rep. Gaetz: Thank you for that, because I really think getting ahead of this will ensure that the humanitarian conditions will be far better that we could perhaps deter some of this because it’s tragic conditions when you talk to these folks. They say that these Haitians are pouring gasoline on little babies and doing everything they can to deter interdictions. It sharpens the minds of my fellow Floridians to want to make sure you guys are doing everything possible and I greatly appreciate the Exchange today you’re back.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Marleine Bastien, who also leads the Family Action Network Movement, outlined a list of requests to the United States government. These demands include:

  1. No US-sponsored intervention: Haitians are calling for a solution led by the Haitian people themselves, without foreign interference.
  2. Letting go of Ariel Henri: The community believes that Prime Minister Ariel Henri should step down to pave the way for a transitional government.
  3. Stop the flow of weapons: To restore stability, Haitians are urging the US to halt the influx of weapons into the country.
  4. Support for a transitional government: Haitians seek a transitional government that can ensure security and pave the way for free and fair elections.

Background on Haiti’s Political Landscape

Haiti has been grappling with political instability for several years. The country has not held an election since 2016, when Jovenel Moise was elected as president.

Moise’s assassination in 2021 further exacerbated the crisis, leaving Prime Minister Ariel Henri in charge. Without a functioning government and ongoing violence, the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate.

The Role of the Haitian Diaspora in South Florida

The Haitian diaspora in South Florida plays a crucial role in advocating for change and providing support to their homeland.

With a significant population of Haitian Americans, Miami has become a center for Haitian community organizations and leaders.

The diaspora is actively engaged in raising awareness, organizing protests, and lobbying for assistance from the US government.

The Need for Security and Free Elections

One of the main demands put forth by the Haitian American community is the establishment of a transitional government that can restore security and lay the foundation for free and fair elections.

With the current political vacuum and rampant violence, Haitians are eager for a leadership change that can bring stability and pave the way for a democratic future.

International Involvement and Foreign Intervention

Haitians are calling for a solution led by their own people and are skeptical of foreign intervention.

They believe that external interference, such as US-sponsored interventions or interventions led by other countries like Kenya, will not address the root causes of the crisis. Instead, they emphasize the importance of supporting the Haitian people’s calls for change and self-determination.

The Role of Weapons in the Crisis

To address the escalating violence in Haiti, the community is urging the United States to take immediate action to stop the flow of weapons into the country.

The abundance of firearms has contributed to the rise of gangs and the deteriorating security situation. By curbing the influx of weapons, Haitians hope to create a safer environment for their fellow citizens.

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