Rise in Maritime Migration to the United States Is a Reminder of Chapters Past

Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter
Date of Publication: 
May, 2022
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

The United States is witnessing a significant increase in unauthorized maritime migration from the Caribbean, which has been largely overshadowed by rising arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico land border. While the 14,500 maritime migration attempts in fiscal year 2021 are only 1% of all arrivals at the southwest border, they are a much larger percentage of certain nationalities, e.g. nearly one-fifth of all Haitian encounters. The spike in Caribbean interdictions at sea has reignited a longstanding debate over the United States’ treatment of unauthorized migration at sea compared to migration across the land borders. Although much attention has been paid to the Biden Administration’s efforts to rescind Title 42, which prevents arrivals at the southern border from applying for asylum, those intercepted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard also have no access to the U.S. asylum system and instead are sent back to their origin countries or screened for eventual resettlement in a third country. Since this process takes place far from U.S. shores, affects fewer people, and offers little basis for legal challenges, it remains largely under the radar screen. The article discusses both the history of maritime migration from the Caribbean to the U.S. over the last 60 years, as well as the policy implications of recent trends in this type of migration.

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Chishti, M. & Bolter, J. (2022, May). Rise in Maritime Migration to the United States Is a Reminder of Chapters Past. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/maritime-migration-united-states...