Officials: 396 Haitian migrants detained near Bahamas

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (TBEN) — The U.S. Coast Guard has detained a boat carrying 396 Haitian migrants near the Bahamas in one of the region’s largest human trafficking incidents, Bahamian officials said.

The migrants were detained near the remote island of Cay Sal between Florida and Cuba, immigration officials in the Bahamas said in a statement on Sunday.

They said the migrants will be processed on the Bahamian island of Inagua and later repatriated.

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Further details were not immediately available. A US Coast Guard spokeswoman said she had no information about the incident.

Thousands of Haitians are fleeing a spike in gang violence and growing political instability in a country that currently lacks democratically elected institutions.

Many travel to the Bahamas and other nearby islands in hopes of eventually reaching Florida. The journeys are often deadly, with migrants crowding into makeshift vessels that have capsized in recent months.

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The exodus comes as the administration of US President Joe Biden recently announced it would return Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who illegally arrive at the Texas border. The government is now offering 30,000 people from those countries monthly humanitarian parole if they find a financial sponsor, apply online and pay for their airfare.

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