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#153: 3 Haitian refugees land in Hollywood (that's Florida, folks, not California :)
Published Tuesday, July 13, 1999, in the Miami Herald
3 Haitian refugees land in Hollywood
By DAVID D'ADDIO Herald Writer
The U.S. Coast Guard picked up three Haitian nationals wandering near
the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood on Monday morning.The three
Haitians, apprehended while walking through John U. Lloyd Beach
State Recreation Area, told U.S. Border Patrol officials they each paid
a Bahamian smuggler $2,500 to reach South Florida soil.The landing comes
just two days after 22 Cuban refugees reached Hollywood Beach. It is
among the first Haitian smuggling efforts since March when an
undetermined number of Haitians -- possibly about 15 -- drowned after
two smuggling boats sank between Palm Beach County and the Bahamas.
The three nationals -- two men, age 26 and 32, and a woman, 22 -- were
not related, but said they flew together from Haiti to Nassau, Bahamas,
on Friday night, and traveled by boat for two days to reach Hollywood
shores, Border Patrol officials said.The trio was sent to the Krome
detention center in Miami where they were screened Monday afternoon.
Although INS could not confirm their status,spokeswoman Maria Elena
Garcia said, they most likely were released. If paroled, the Haitians
would be eligible for permanent citizenship after one year.
Border Patrol officials said they do not know who smuggled the three and
do not have an accurate description of the vessel that carried them.
``Like most smuggled illegal aliens, they were not very cooperative,''
U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief Dan Geoghegan said.Coast Guard Petty
Officer Kurt Baschab spotted the three while driving north on
Ocean Drive inside the coastal state park, Petty Officer Brian Leavy
said.Baschab was on his way to the Fort Lauderdale station, at the
northern end of the park, around 6:30 a.m. Monday when he noticed the
Haitians wandering near the road.Since the park does not open until 8
a.m., Baschab questioned the three, who spoke no English. Baschab then
brought them to the Coast Guard station, Leavy said, where officers
called Hollywood Police and the U.S. Border Patrol.
The Border Patrol tracks the inflow of refugees annually from Oct. 1 to
Sept. 30.Last year the Border Patrol received 389 Haitian nationals. So
far this year,Border Patrol has received 352 Haitian nationals,
including Monday's arrivals.Whereas Cuban refugees tend to aim for Miami
shores, Haitian nationals generally land in the West Palm Beach area,
Geoghegan said. Most travel via the Bahamas.