MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The crisis in Cuba and the continuing strife in Haiti could prompt refugees to flee their countries and attempt a dangerous crossing of the Florida Straits to the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban-born refugee, had this warning for those considering the dangerous trip.

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“DHS is working with our partners to support the Haitian and Cuban people. The Coast Guard along with our state, local, and federal partners are monitoring any activity that may indicate increases in unsafe and irregular maritime migration in the Florida straits, including unpermitted vessel departures from Florida to Cuba.
The time is never right to attempt migration by sea. To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking. Allow me to be clear, if you take to the sea you will not come to the United States,” he said.

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So far this year, 470 Cubans and 313 Haitians have been intercepted while attempting to make the crossing to Florida.

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Twenty lives have been lost in recent weeks when refugees attempted the crossing.

CBSMiami.com Team