Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Tuesday that those fleeing Cuba or Haiti by sea would not be allowed into the U.S. — and would either be returned or, if they were found to have a fear of persecution, referred to a third country.
“The time is never right to attempt migration by sea,” Mayorkas said at a press conference. “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.
Both countries have been hit by political unrest in recent days. Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated last week, and the country — which was suffered instability and insecurity for years — has reached out to the U.S. for military assistance.
Meanwhile, Cuba has been rocked by protests against the authoritarian communist regime over high prices, medical shortages, and other economic conditions.