Over 80 Haitian migrants were intercepted about 18 miles east of Biscayne Bay on Sunday, September 12, 2021. It’s the latest migrant voyage from Haiti since the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country and killed over 220 people on Aug. 14. (United States Coast Guard/Courtesy)

By Angie DiMichele and Austen Erblat for South Florida Sun Sentinel

Over 100 Haitian migrants boarded a homemade boat, attempting to leave a country riddled with gang violence, political turmoil and devastating conditions in the wake of a deadly earthquake.

But at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the nearly 700-mile trip neared its end on the Atlantic Ocean less than 20 miles away from their destination, the United States.

In total, 104 Haitian migrants were aboard the boat about 17 miles off Miami when officers arrived after someone reported it, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson said.

The passengers were spread from the bow to the stern, many sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, some grasping onto the sails and standing where there wasn’t enough room to sit.

The desperate scene, captured in photos by the Coast Guard, was “heartbreaking,” said Léonie M. Hermantin, director of communications at Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center in North Miami.

“Who goes to the bathroom? How do they drink?” Hermantin said. “How do they eat? It’s just horrible.

“When I’m on a cruise ship, I look out at night when it’s pitch black and I try to imagine what it’s like to be on one of these boats.”

The Coast Guard declined to answer further questions about where the trip originated, where those on board were from, the age range of the passengers, or their destination.

The migrants were still aboard two Coast Guard cutters as of Monday afternoon, said Petty Officer Ryan Estrada of the U.S. Coast Guard’s District 7. Continue reading

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  1. Haitian migrants call Their being returned to Haiti “Injustice” ??
    This is exactly what is wrong with immigrants that do not have a clue, as to what their so called “Injustice” to them by Biden and the potential COVID Health Hazards by “Dropping-In” Does to the communities, public services, schools, and the overall health of US Citizens that always, always, end up Footing the bills for their livelihoods.

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