Posted on March 13, 2024

Florida Braces for Surge in Haitian Migrants

Kimberly Leonard, Politico, March 13, 2024


The crisis in Haiti could lead to a migration surge to Florida, forcing officials to respond as the state has taken an increasingly hardline stance on the issue and as Congress faces gridlock over border policy.

Violent gangs have largely overtaken the island nation and people throughout Haiti face dwindling food supplies and homelessness. The chaos has led to the resignation of Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who will formally step down as soon as an interim leader is named.

Over the years, the Caribbean country’s turmoil has forced Haitians to take the dangerous, 700-mile path by sea to flee to Florida’s shores, often landing in the Keys. Today, more than 276,000 people who live in Florida were born in Haiti {snip}


The governor’s office hasn’t yet said how it will respond, and a large-scale crisis could push Gov. Ron DeSantis to work with President Joe Biden, whom he frequently criticizes on this issue. Just over a year ago, as unrest continued after the Miami-linked 2021 assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, DeSantis declared a state of emergency and activated the state National Guard after 130 Haitians and 500 Cubans arrived in South Florida. Tens of thousands of Haitians at the time also tried to cross into the U.S. at the Texas border.

DeSantis has made it clear through his policies that Florida won’t welcome mass migration. He successfully sued the Biden administration over border policies {snip} He also signed one of the harshest measures into law, making it harder for people to work in Florida if they live here illegally.