Haitian boat people

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Haitian refugees intercepted by US Coast Guard in 1998.

Haitian boat people are refugees from Haiti who flee the country by boat, usually to South Florida[1] and sometimes the Bahamas.

The first reports of refugees fleeing Haiti by boat to the United States began in 1972.[2] In the 1980 Mariel boatlift, many Haitian boat people joined the exodus from Cuba to take refuge in the United States.[3] Between 1972 and 1981 around 55,000 boat people had arrived in Florida, but many escaped U.S. detection so the number may be around 100,000. Around 50,000 landed in the Bahamas during the 1980s.[1] Before 1981 all Haitian entrants to the United States were detained and if not considered political refugees, were sent back to Haiti. After 1981 all Haitian refugees intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard were immediately sent back to Haiti.[4] After political turmoil in Haiti in 1991 around 40,000 boat people attempted to sail to the United States. Many were detained at Guantanamo Bay where they were interviewed to see if they were seeking political asylum. Many were later granted asylum.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stepick, Alex (1982). "Haitian Boat People: A Study in the Conflicting Forces Shaping U.S. Immigration Policy". Retrieved 2019-12-16.
  2. ^ Haggerty, Richard A., ed. (1989). "Migration". Haiti: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Publishing Office for the Library of Congress. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Mariel Boatlift of 1980". Florida Memory Blog. October 5, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Christopher (July 1, 1994). "U.S. Policy toward Haitian Boat People, 1972–93". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. SAGE Journals. 534: 69–80. doi:10.1177/0002716294534001006. S2CID 146174615. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "History Lesson 9: Refugees from the Caribbean: Cuban and Haiti "Boat People"". Constitutional Rights Foundation. Retrieved December 16, 2019.