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News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl, Mon. July 17, 2023: “Don’t Haiti My Florida!”

That’s the title of a recent op ed, published by Republican Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, in the Daily Caller. Pointing to Customs and Border Patrol statistics between January and May of 2023, Gaetz said CBP encountered 23,490 “illegal Haitians in its Florida sector.”

The Coast Guard routinely interdicts Haitians on the ocean attempting to reach Florida through the Florida straits as well as the Bimini and Bahamian passageways.

“Every Haitian that gets to land functionally gets to stay in Florida forever,” stated Gaetz. “Unlike when illegal immigrants cross the Southern border, and disperse throughout the country, these Haitians are congregating in Southeast Florida and overrunning taxpayer resources.  Haiti is not sending its best on these boats. …. These aren’t software engineers being caught at sea.”

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Congressman Matt Gaetz has slammed Haitians in Florida. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

He claimed that a 2005 study of Haitian immigrants in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood found that just 22 percent had a High School degree while over 85 percent of adults nationwide had a high school degree.

Gaetz also claimed that the impact of Haitian illegal immigration on Florida’s social services is significant. “They are more than twice as likely to use food stamps, Medicaid, and other major welfare programs than their native-born peers,” he stated. “These illegal migrants also impose a significant burden on Florida’s hospitals. A 2005 study found that nearly a third of Haitians in Miami used taxpayer-subsidized healthcare. Haitian migrants in Miami have higher rates of chronic health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and the country is one of the worst for tuberculosis. This is due to a number of factors, including poverty. Haitians are the poorest national group in Miami-Dade County.”

He added that Haitians “don’t just burden our state’s social services, but also our state’s prisons.”

“Fort Myers police officer Adam Jobbers-Miller was killed in 2018 after being shot in the head by an alien from Haiti with an immigration detainer. That was an avoidable death,” Gaetz stated. “The fact that Haiti is close to Florida, does not mean that my state should be inundated with illegal Haitian immigrants.”

He added: “We need to be honest about the impact of unfettered illegal immigration from Haiti,” stated the Congressman. “We are not Haiti. We must surge Department of Defense resources, including the Navy, to stop this invasion of Florida. Every illegal immigrant caught trying to come to America must be swiftly returned back to his nation.”

“One of the things that separates our wonderful country from a place like Haiti is the rule of law. Let’s enforce it,” Gaetz concluded. “I cannot sit idly by as Biden tries to Haiti my Florida.”

HAITIANS IN THE US

Haitian immigrants account for less than 2 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population and are put at around 687,000 nationally. Miami-Dade is home to around 228,000. Florida does have the highest number of Haitians in the United States, with 487,632 individuals, representing 2.15% of the state’s population.

The median household income in Little Haiti is 25,774.73 but that also includes Downtown/East Little Havana/Liberty City/Overton. Many can vote and are US citizens. In 2016, Trump won about 20 percent of the Haitian vote, according to an analysis of data from University of Florida political scientist Dan Smith.

According to the Migration Policy Center, 79 percent of Haitians ages 25 and over in the United States had a high school degree or higher, compared to 78 percent of the overall Caribbean immigrant population and 73 percent of the total foreign-born population. Over 32 percent of Haitians in Little Haiti have a high school diploma, according to FIU data.

The share of Haitian immigrants with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 19 percent, compared to 32 percent of the total foreign-born population.  Among Haitian immigrants ages 16 and older, 71 percent participated in the civilian labor force, compared to 66 percent of the overall foreign-born population and 62 percent of the U.S.-born population. Haitian immigrant women were also more likely to be in the labor force than the overall female immigrant population – 66 percent compared to 57 percent.

Haitian immigrants were more likely to be employed in service occupations and less likely to be in management and related occupations than both foreign- and native-born populations.”  The data also said the Haitian-born population held health insurance at roughly the same rate as the overall immigrant population – 83 percent compared to 81 percent. And a larger share of Haitian immigrants had private health insurance than public coverage, at similar rates as the total foreign-born population.

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