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Attorney General Issues Statement on Haitian Migrant Situation in Miami

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 02103173 (posted Oct. 31, 2002)"

STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT
REGARDING THE HAITIAN MIGRANT SITUATION IN MIAMI, FLORIDA

“The events yesterday regarding Haitian and other migrants in Miami are of great concern. Our first priority must be the health and safety of the individuals on board the vessel. These individuals are being treated fairly, appropriately, and humanely.

Illegal migration by sea is perilous and the dangers are real. We call upon anyone who is considering similar attempts to come to the United States in this manner to reject this hazardous voyage. These types of voyages are unlikely to succeed and could result in tragic loss of life.

The U.S. Government encourages legal travel to the United States and our consulates continue to issue non-immigrant and immigrant visas to qualified applicants. Since 1999, approximately 58,000 Haitians have legally migrated to the United States, making it the country with the fourth highest rate of legal immigrants.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act passed by Congress, individuals who arrive in the United States and do not present themselves for inspection are in violation of our country's immigration laws. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is currently processing the individuals who arrived yesterday for appropriate action.”

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