DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Haitian and Cuban migrants and asylum-seekers who try to come to the U.S. by boat will not be allowed to enter the country. Even if asylum-seekers establish fear of persecution, they will be resettled in third countries, Mayorkas said.
Mayorkas said those trying to reach the U.S. by sea will be intercepted by the Coast Guard and immediately returned to their home countries. Even if asylum-seekers manage to get interviews with U.S. officials, Mayorkas added, they will not be permitted to set foot on U.S. soil, regardless of the outcome of their screenings.
“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement. They will not enter the United States,” Mayorkas said.
“The U.S. government shouldn’t be using this system of off-shore processing to evade our refugee protection laws,” Kennji Kizuka, the associate director of research and analysis at Human Rights First, told CBS News. “They should allow people to land in the United States and go through their full asylum proceedings.”
Mayorkas said the U.S. has so far not detected a “surge” in maritime interdictions of Cubans and Haitians. He said that 470 Cubans and 313 Haitians have been encountered at sea so far this fiscal year. In fiscal year 2020, 49 Cubans and 430 Haitians were intercepted by the Coast Guard.
These maritime interdictions pale in comparison to the number of Cuban and Haitian migrants taken into U.S. custody along the border with Mexico. In May, the last month with available statistics, 2,800 Haitians and 2,600 Cubans were encountered along the southern border.