Second flight of US citizens fleeing Haiti arrives in Miami

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A fight evacuating 80 Americans from Haiti landed in Miami on Thursday, the second State Department-sponsored fight to South Florida this week as gang violence continues to ravage the Caribbean country.

The State Department has urged all Americans to leave Haiti, evacuating the U.S. Embassy of non-essential personnel earlier this month. The capital of Port-au-Prince is in chaos, mostly controlled by rival street gangs, as a transitional government gains its footing after being established last week.

The first flight of Americans left Cap-Haïtien, on the country’s northern coast, on Sunday with over 30 people on board. The second flight Thursday also took off from the port city and included some Americans who had traveled from the capital, six hours away.

Commercial flights from Port-au-Prince have been halted since March 4 as gangs surrounded the country’s largest airport, shutting it down. Haiti’s former prime minister, Ariel Henry, announced he would resign last week after being forced to remain in Puerto Rico due to the airport closure.

The Biden Administration has also financially backed a United Nations effort for a multinational police force to calm the violence, though the effort has faced logistical challenges and roadblocks in Congress. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre again warned Americans in the country to leave Wednesday.

“We’ve been stressing that the United States government cannot guarantee American citizens will all be evacuated given the treacherous situation on the ground,” she said. “That said, we have informed Americans who are registered with the State Department that we’re exploring various options to help them depart from Port-au-Prince and also from Cap-Haïtien.”

She added that State also organized helicopter flights to transport 15 Americans from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo, the capital of the neighboring Dominican Republic.

The Biden Administration and Florida governments have braced for potential waves of migrants fleeing the violence. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) deployed nearly 50 National Guard members and equipment to South Florida in anticipation early last week, while the Biden Administration has floated using military facilities at Guantánamo Bay to process migrants, CNN reported.

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