US Military Ready to Deploy Navy Ships to Fight Wave of Migrants

The United States military is ready to deploy Navy vessels in response to an expected surge in Haitian migrants heading towards Florida.

On Tuesday, officials appeared before the House Armed Services Committee to discuss Department of Defense (DOD) activities in the Western Hemisphere and the persistent security challenges, including the ongoing conflict in Haiti.

Escalating gang violence has erupted across the nation following the jailbreaks orchestrated by armed gangs from Haiti’s two largest prisons, leading to the escape of over 4,500 inmates. These gangs are now demanding the resignation of Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry. In response to the situation, U.S. officials have issued a warning for all U.S. citizens to evacuate Haiti using any available means. Although the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is still open, it is currently operating with limited capacity and has already evacuated some of its personnel. Taking the situation into account, Henry announced his late Monday decision to step down.

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz inquired on Tuesday whether the Department of Defense (DOD) and U.S. Navy would take action against the prevailing gang violence and also handle the influx of Haitian migrants in Florida communities.

“As a resident of Florida, I am greatly concerned about the increasing number of people from Haiti who are coming to our state. Many of them choose to settle in southeast Florida. The main reason behind this migration is the worsening conditions in Haiti,” expressed Gaetz.

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“What steps are we taking to get ready for this wave and guarantee that these individuals are not released into the United States, which the administration has done with individuals at the southern border, but instead, are returned to Port au Prince at the dock?”

When asked about the possibility of a mass migration, General Laura Richardson, who is in charge of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), was questioned about activating the necessary authorities.

“I believe it is crucial to position ourselves in the most effective way for that,” Richardson stated. “I have formally requested an enhancement in our capabilities to precisely address this issue. Moreover, we are fully prepared to handle a mass migration if the need arises.”

SOUTHCOM consists of over 1,200 military and civilian personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and various federal agencies.

According to a spokesperson from SOUTHCOM, last night’s U.S. military operation had a specific focus. The operation aimed to ensure the embassy’s security capabilities remained strong and allowed for relief in place for the current Marines. This practice is common and routine worldwide. Additionally, it facilitated the departure of non-emergency personnel, which in turn enables the embassy’s mission operations to continue smoothly.

The situation in Haiti is being closely monitored by SOUTHCOM, and they have been providing regular updates. One of the recent updates includes the deployment of a U.S. Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST). This deployment allows for the departure of non-emergency personnel from Haiti.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the U.S. Southern Command assures that they have an array of contingency plans in place to guarantee the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Haiti.

Richardson promised Gaetz that she would reach out to other districts, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard on the Atlantic side, to determine if they require extra grey-hull vessels. This request for assistance had not been made by SOUTHCOM before.

She added that if there is a need for it, she would definitely request it.

Chinese authorities have employed grey-hull vessels in their military-related activities as a means to avoid eliciting a military reaction from their opponents.

According to Ridzwan Rahmat, a defense intelligence analyst with Janes, deploying grey-hull vessels can lead to a dangerous escalation with adversaries. As a result, China has opted to deploy white-hull vessels as a non-threatening alternative to reinforce its presence without exacerbating tensions.

According to DOD official Rebecca Zimmerman, the United States is currently making preparations for a potential rise in refugees. She emphasized that the country has not yet experienced a maritime mass migration with significant numbers.

She responded by saying that they have made preparations for it because there is a chance that it might happen.

Zimmerman acknowledged the potential impact of the challenging driving conditions in Haiti, agreeing that they could lead to an increased number of individuals seeking assistance. In response, he revealed that additional aid has been authorized to support the efforts of the Coast Guard in addressing this situation.

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