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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Webster urges Biden to use Navy to stop anticipated Haitian migration to Florida

Congressman Daniel Webster
Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Daniel Webster and other GOP colleagues sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to use his presidential authority to declare an “anticipated mass migration of aliens en route to, or arriving off the coast of, the United States” through Florida.

The declaration will allow the U.S. Navy to reinforce efforts by the State of Florida to conduct maritime interdictions and repatriation of Haitians.

Joining Webster in the letter were Matt Gaetz, Gus Bilirakis and Anna Paulina Luna, all fellow Republicans representing Congressional districts in Florida.

Last week, a Department of Defense official testifying in the House Armed Services Committee acknowledged that there is an anticipated mass migration from Haiti coming into the United States and that the Biden Administration is considering using the U.S. Navy to assist the U.S. Coast Guard to interdict and repatriate migrants before they reach U.S. soil.

As chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee, Webster has spoken with the Coast Guard about a possible surge in migration, and the Coast Guard has repositioned additional vessels to the Florida Straits and surrounding areas.

See the full letter below:

Dear Mr. President:
We write to request that you exercise your authority under 46 U.S. Code § 70051 and declare an “anticipated mass migration of aliens en route to, or arriving off the coast of, the United States” as urgent circumstances requiring an immediate federal response.
On March 14, 2024, during the House Armed Services Committee hearing on North and South Command posture, General Laura Richardson, Commander of United States Southern Command, stated: “I think that we need to be postured appropriately [to address the threat of mass migration from Haiti], for that is exactly what you’re talking about. And I have put in a request for increased capability to do exactly that. And we are ready if a mass migration if we need to deal with a mass migration.” Additionally, Gen. Richards was asked: “Can I leave this discussion, believing that it will be your best military advice to the administration to utilize DoD assets for this purpose?” She responded: “I’m requested to do that. I will definitely do that.”
While on the same day, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, announced Florida will deploy additional law enforcement resources to the southern regions of the state in anticipation of a possible wave of Haitian migrants as the Caribbean country struggles amid street violence and political instability, we believe the resources are insufficient to address the scope and scale of the anticipated mass migration. A declaration pursuant to Executive Order 13276 is necessary to reinforce the State of Florida’s efforts by utilizing Department of Defense vessels to conduct maritime interdictions and interceptions of aliens from Haiti and repatriate them, preferably to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as this limits the financial obligation of U.S. taxpayers. 
We urge you to engage the necessary assets to conduct maritime interdictions and interceptions of Haitians under 46 U.S. Code § 70051 and Executive Order 13276 and repatriate them to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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