Broward County and U.S. Border Patrol authorities detained 14 migrants, including Jamaicans, who were traveling in a boat that came ashore hitting a sea wall in South Florida on Thursday.
A witness said he saw the boat nearing the shore very slowly. A resident in the neighborhood said she saw one of the men run through her yard.
WPLG-TV reports the migrants were coming from Jamaica and had first traveled to The Bahamas. One of the migrant men told the TV station as he was being handcuffed in Pompano Beach, Florida, that he was fleeing from violence in his country.
“There’s killing going on there. We want a better life. No life is in Jamaica right now,” the man said. He was not identified by name.
Over 1,000 Jamaicans have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the country’s crime problem can also be considered an epidemic.
Since the start of the year, there have been over 300 murders. The country is also grappling with a wave of domestic abuse incidents and an increasing number of femicides. According to one 2020 survey, Jamaica had the highest homicide rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, at 46.5 per 100,000 people.
But the national security minister, Dr Horace Chang says that the government is making progress in its crime-fighting efforts.
Horace Chang says that as a result of the massive investment made over the last five years, Jamaica is witnessing its lowest recording of serious crimes in over 20 years.
“Over the last five years, serious crimes, which include murder, shooting, rape, robbery, and break-ins, have declined by an average of five per cent per annum,” the minister said in parliament on May 25.
He said that “between 2015 and 2020, total serious crimes declined by approximately 24 per cent, moving from 6,667 in 2015 to 5,086 in 2020. This is the lowest recording of serious crimes in over 20 years”.
The Associated Press stated that U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for more information on the arrest of the mirgants.