On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Cubans and Haitians not to come to the United States.
“The time is never right to attempt migration by sea,” said the Cuban native during a press conference at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. “To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking.”
He added, “Allow me to be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”
Mayorkas message comes as rare, mass anti-government protests have begun taking place across the country of Cuba. Citizens are rising against their oppressive dictator and chanting that they want “freedom.”
The Biden administration has expressed solidarity with the thousands of Cubans protesting on the communist-run island, but so far has not shared any concrete plans or policy to help them. On Sunday, a delegation of U.S. officials traveled to Haiti to discuss the Haitian government’s ask for U.S. assistance following the president’s assassination.
Many migrants attempting to reach the United States by sea have died on the dangerous trek over the years. In recent weeks, 20 migrants have died at sea, Mayorkas said.
So far, the U.S. has not seen a surge in Cuban or Haitian migrants by sea, Mayorkas said. But the U.S. Coast Guard has deployed officials to monitor the situation by air and sea in the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea, he said.
“Any migrant intercepted at sea, regardless of their nationality, will not be permitted to enter the United States,” Mayorkas added.