Residents of a Florida neighborhood spotted migrants from the Caribbean clambering over their backyard fences this weekend after a smuggling vessel made landfall in Broward County, according to reports.
US Border Patrol agents said a 40-foot fishing vessel came ashore near Pompano Beach Sunday afternoon carrying 19 haggard migrants, all of them believed to be hailing from Haiti, save for one from the Dominican Republic.
“I have a friend that lives on this street and he called me when I got home from work and said, ‘I’ve got people in my backyard climbing the fence,’” resident Harvey Villa told Local 10.
Other migrants — including two pregnant women and several children — ended up on the properties of local homeowners after the boat emptied passengers into the streets.
Startled residents called police, and border officials soon arrived at the scene.
“I was able to take a look inside the vessel and, not the best conditions, there was about six to eight fuel drums under the front bow sitting there, you could smell the fumes and the gasoline when you got on board, so likely a very dangerous journey at sea,” Adam Hoffner, with US Customs and Border Protection, told the station.
The migrants — who were ferried to Florida as part of a human smuggling operation — were taken into custody.
Authorities have yet to locate the boat’s captain, and officials are attempting to learn more about the traffickers who transported the group from the Caribbean.
Detainees will be taken to processing facility in Dania Beach and will likely be deported back to Haiti.
Florida has seen a surge in illegal immigration in recent months, with most of the arrivals coming from Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has sharply criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the ongoing migrant crush, especially at the US-Mexico border.
The Republican presidential contender recently sent a convoy of Florida law enforcement officers and other assets to Texas to help the beleaguered state manage the migrant influx.
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