Coast Guard intercepts dozens of migrants off Florida coast

Southeast

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted dozens of Cuban and Haitian migrants off the coast of Florida this month, and on Thursday even more arrived ashore.

A group of Haitians managed to swim to shore from a sailboat in the latest incident of a growing trend of migrant boats making the harrowing journey in choppy waters.

Video shared with NewsNation shows a group of migrants right after they arrived in Virginia Key in South Florida. Border agents said the migrants came from Haiti.

“There was men, women and children aboard and they were all in various states of malnutrition and dehydration,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll said.

The Coast Guard estimated that roughly 70 people were crammed onto the sailboat. A small group who jumped into the water and made it to land were taken into Border Patrol custody.

Another 45 are now with the Coast Guard and will eventually be deported.

“Nobody had life jackets on,” Groll said. “It was running pretty sparse and people were just jam-packed into the hull of that sailboat.”

The arrival was the latest in a surge of migrants trying to get to the U.S., many making it to Florida shores.

A group of Cubans shared video from their journey exclusively with NewsNation. They made it to the Florida Keys after 10 days on the water, they said.

The Coast Guard says migrant encounters in its Miami sector have gone up 400% since October.

Officials in the Florida Keys have been especially busy. Last week, NewsNation captured video of makeshift boats scattered along shores.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he’d activated the National Guard to help with what he described as an “alarming influx.” At a news conference this week, DeSantis said the Coast Guard requested help.

“What the Coast Guard has told us is that we are not going to get additional resources from the federal government. Like, this is what we have,” DeSantis said. “So we’re basically filling gaps that the federal government should be filing.”

The Coast Guard said it has stopped close to 5,000 migrants from Cuba alone since October.

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