Rep. Matt Gaetz Suggests Naval Interdiction of Haitian Migrants

Evan Poellinger | March 15, 2024
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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, FL) has suggested that the United States should begin apprehending and deporting Haitian migrants at sea before they can reach America.

In an interview with NewsNation, Gaetz declared that “Haiti is a failed state right now. The Biden administration officials I was speaking with couldn’t distinguish Haiti from a failed state” and “We know that is the No. 1 push factor that sends thousands of people into the Florida straits, onto Florida shores.” To preemptively address the problem, Gaetz suggested that the United States “interdict them at sea.”

By doing so, Gaetz explained, “We are able to pull right up to a dock at Port-au-Prince, as a consequence of our agreements there, let them out, and they are never part of the immigration system.”

If the U.S. is unable to stop the Haitians before they reach the shore, “they’re able to claim that they fear their conditions in Haiti, they can seek asylum, and that further clogs that system.” “I just don’t want Southeast Florida to become Haiti,” since it would be “a huge burden on our jails, on our hospitals, our school systems, and the violence that you see from some of these folks is horrendous,” Gaetz added,

The likely wave of mass migration stems from the spiraling chaos currently underway in Haiti after gangs took over large swathes of the country. Pressure from these gangs, ultimately, forced Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign. Henry’s resignation leaves Haiti at the mercy of gang leaders, such as the infamous Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, who allegedly acquired his nickname because of a propensity for burning people alive.

Other reports have emerged from Haiti showing gang members engaged in a different kind of barbecue: cooking and eating the flesh of their enemies. Compounding matters, the gangs have released thousands of prisoners from prisons across the country, prisoners who may well join the cavalcade of migrants looking to cross the Caribbean Sea to the United States.

Whether the United States will take the action recommended by Rep. Gaetz remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though. The particular brand of barbecue practiced by the gangs in Haiti is decidedly distasteful to the American palate.