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Mayorkas says migrants shouldn’t travel illegally by sea from Cuba or Haiti

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At an event on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discouraged migrants from traveling unlawfully by sea to the United States. After pledging support for the people of Haiti and Cuba, in light of political turmoil in both countries, Mayorkas said, “If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”

Video Transcript

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: We are committed to supporting the Haitian government as it seeks justice in this case. And we affirm the United States support for the people of Haiti. We also stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and their calls for freedom from the repression and economic suffering that Cuba's authoritarian regime is causing.

DHS is working with our partners to support the Haitian and Cuban people. The Coast Guard, along with our state, local, and federal partners, are monitoring any activity that may indicate increases in unsafe and irregular maritime migration in the Florida Straits. Including unpermitted vessel departures from Florida to Cuba.

The time is never right to attempt migration by sea. To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking. Allow me to be clear. If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States. Homeland Security Task Force-- Southeast headed by the Coast Guard's 7th District Command is responsible for the DHS response to a maritime migration. This task force has been in place for more than 18 years. And it exists to prevent and respond to maritime migration in the Caribbean.

Our mission and operations in the Southeast remain unchanged. And we will continue to interdict migrants attempting to enter the United States irregularly. The Coast Guard maintains a continual presence in the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea, particularly around Puerto Rico, in our maritime approaches. Patrolling with air and sea military assets. Any migrant intercepted at sea, regardless of their nationality, will not be permitted to enter the United States.

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