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Biden admin may use Guantanamo Bay for illegal immigrants: Report

The entrance to Camp 1 in Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta. (Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem, U.S. Department of Defense/Released)
March 14, 2024

A new report claims that President Joe Biden’s administration is considering using Guantanamo Bay to process illegal immigrants fleeing from increased gang violence in Haiti that threatens to completely overrun the country.

An anonymous U.S. official told CNN that the Biden administration is considering a plan that would expand the existing migrant processing center at Guantanamo Bay to potentially alleviate an increase in illegal immigrants attempting to flee to the United States from Haiti if the country continues to be plagued by gang violence. The New York Post noted that the Guantanamo Migrant Operations Center is separate from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, where terrorist suspects are imprisoned.

According to The New York Post, the recent gang violence in Haiti has led to growing concerns that the current illegal immigration crisis at the southern border could be compounded with additional illegal immigrants fleeing from Haiti. The outlet noted that the Guantanamo Migrant Operations Center is located roughly 200 miles from Haiti and has been used to temporarily house illegal immigrants encountered by the U.S. Coast Guard for over three decades.

CNN reported that Guantanamo Bay was prepared in 2010 for a potential influx of illegal immigrants from Haiti in the aftermath of a major earthquake in the Caribbean country. Additionally, the outlet noted that the Biden administration previously considered using the Guantanamo Migrant Operations Center in 2022 when gang violence caused many Haitians to flee the country.

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Estimates provided by the United Nations show that roughly 80% of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince is currently controlled by gangs. Fox News recently reported that over 4,000 criminals have been released from prison as a result of gang raids throughout the country.

A National Security Council spokesperson told CNN the United States is preparing for illegal immigrants to attempt to travel from Haiti to Florida as gang violence continues to increase.

“We are clear-eyed that economic, political, and security instability are key drivers for migrants around the world,” the National Security Council spokesperson said. “We are closely monitoring the situation and the routes frequently used by migrants to reach our borders and at this time, irregular migration flows through the Caribbean remain low.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security told CNN that the department is “monitoring the situation in Haiti” and is working with both the State Department and international partners. The spokesperson explained that “irregular migration flows through the Caribbean remain low” at this point.

“Those interdicted at sea are subject to immediate repatriation pursuant to our longstanding policy and procedures,” the spokesperson said. “The United States returns or repatriates migrants interdicted at sea to The Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.”