At approximately 1900 EST, local media began reporting that a Haitian migrant vessel was stopped by the United States Coast Guard near the “famous sandbar” off the coast of Islamorada, Florida. However, it quickly became evident that the ship, which was carrying more than 237 migrants had run aground on the sand bar and several dozen people jumped into the water to attempt to swim to shore.
Authorities stopped a Haitian migrant boat at the famous sandbar in Islamorada Monday night pic.twitter.com/3azHGbT6n7
— David Goodhue (@DavidGoodhue) November 21, 2022
Monroe County Sherrif’s Office confirmed at 1924 EST that a “large” Haitian migrant vessel was stuck on the sandbar and a massive search and rescue operation was underway by the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and their office. Mass delays were reported on US 1 as multiple emergency services agencies converged on the area to provide humanitarian aid to the migrants who were being transported via boat to shore. By 2108 EST, the Coast Guard had confirmed that at least 100 people had been moved ashore and were receiving care.
#Update @USCG, partner crews rescued more than 100 people before the vessel hit a sand bar off Whale Harbor. #SAR
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) November 22, 2022
The humanitarian crisis in Haiti has spurred a massive illegal immigration flow to the United States, which hosts the largest Haitian population in the world outside of Haiti. From January 1st, 2021 to February 26th, 2022, more than 26,000 Haitians were intercepted by the USCG and CBP. That number is expected to have sky-rocketed since the political turmoil in the nation’s capital has erupted in the last six months.