Gaetz Presses Defense on Possible Mass Migration from Haiti

Gaetz Presses Defense on Possible Mass Migration from Haiti

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
March 13, 2024

Gang violence continues to escalate in Haiti even after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, causing concerns that Haitian refugees will come to the United States en masse. During a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questioned Assistant Secretary of Defense Rebecca Zimmerman on how the Biden Administration will respond, revealing its plans to stop the coming mass migration through the Navy and Coast Guard.

Rep. Gaetz began by asking what the "difference" between Haiti and a failed state was and pointed out how many Haitians arriving to America congregate in South Florida rather than disperse throughout the country.

"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?" Rep. Gaetz asked.

Zimmerman answered, "We are 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 [of] what we would characterize as maritime mass migration. But we are alert to that is migration. We are we are alert to that possibility."

Additionally, Gaetz cited USC 70051, which allows the President to invoke a national emergency in the case of mass migration headed to the United States. Moreover, Executive Order 13276 authorizes the Department of Defense to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in intercepting migrant boats and repatriating them to their countries of origin.

United States Southern Command General Laura Richardson said she would "talk with District Seven and our Coast Guard on the Atlantic side and see if they need additional gray, DOD gray holes. They have not requested that specifically from SOUTHCOM. But if there is a need for that, I would absolutely request it."

"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 is tragic conditions. When you talk to these folks, and they say that these Haitians are pouring gasoline on little babies and doing everything they can to deter interdictions," Gaetz concluded.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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