(NewsNation) — From the choppy ocean waters off the coast of Florida to the dry deserts at the southern U.S. border, thousands of migrants have braved unforgiving conditions in an effort to leave their home countries for the United States.
In Florida, Coast Guard officials say they’re encountering more migrants than ever from Cuba and Haiti attempting to cross dangerous waters on makeshift rafts and boats to reach the U.S.
Coast Guard officials said the migrants they do encounter are typically in poor condition.
“People leaving Cuba are bringing their kids, they’re bringing they’re animals and they’re coming on vessels that are not equipped with safety equipment or even just your basic life jacket,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll. “They’re coming in very rustic makeshift vessels and when we pick them up they have symptoms of dehydration, they’re hungry, they are sometimes just looking for a fresh set of clothes because unless they’re able to maneuver themselves to the side to use the restroom, they’re just not in good condition in that sense.”
The number of Cubans trying to reach the United States has risen in the past year, the Coast Guard said. Authorities have stopped more than 5,000 Cubans in the water trying to reach the U.S. since Oct. 2021, up from 800 in the previous year. Two years ago, just 49 Cubans were stopped.
The Coast Guard said it has partnered with U.S. Border Patrol in an effort to tackle the increase in migrants.
A majority of the migrants encountered are men, women and children attempting to make the journey with out safety equipment or basic necessities.
The situation officials are seeing in the waters off the coast of Florida still pales in comparison to the problems border officials are encountering at the southern border where thousands of migrants from hundreds countries continue to arrive everyday.
In Eagle Pass, Texas, Border Patrol agents have been bogged down trying to process the hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving at the border. More than 400,000 migrants have arrived there this year, a 100% increase compared to last year.
Like the migrants in Florida, those at the southern border include people from Cuba trying to seek a new beginning in the U.S.
“It cost me around $4,000 to $6,000 U.S. dollars to get out of Cuba,” one Cuban migrant told NewsNation. “There’s no future in our country, Cuba is lost. The Cuban youth has no way to prosper there.”
Drug seizures at the southern border also remain high, the Texas Department of Public safety says. They claim to have seized enough fentanyl to kill the entire U.S. population since spring of 2021.
In Nogales, Arizona, 186,000 fentanyl pills, three pounds of fentanyl powder and other drugs were found during five separate busts over the weekend.