Ten immigration protestors calling for a stop to Haitian deportations were arrested Monday for civil disobedience, after temporarily blocking the Biscayne Boulevard entrance to Port Miami.
Carrying umbrellas with the words “CITIZENSHIP NOW” and signs with messages reading, “STOP DEPORTING HAITIANS” and “KAMALA HARRIS DELIVER CITIZENSHIP FOR MILLIONS," the group of protestors linked arms and laid down on the roadway as three City of Miami police vehicles were parked nearby.
“This caught us by surprise,” Miami Police Officer Michael Vega told Local 10 News. “We weren’t expecting them to tie hands as they did and lay at the entrance to the port.”
“We explained to them if you don’t stop or get up and move you will be arrested,” Vega added. “Eventually after disregarding our commands, they were arrested.”
Police closed down Biscayne Boulevard in both directions between NW 4th and 6th streets. Commercial port operations were not affected, a Port Miami spokesperson told the Miami Herald. The I-395 port tunnel remained open.
Haitians in South Florida have been demanding that the Biden administration end the deportation of Haitian asylum seekers and create a pathway to citizenship for refugees, as many on the island are trying to reach the U.S. in the wake of yet another devastating earthquake and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Over the weekend, an armed gang kidnapped 17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries and their children. Liszt Quitel, Haiti’s justice minister, said the group is asking for $1 million for each hostage’s release. Quitel said the FBI and Haitian police have been in negotiations with the kidnappers, identified as being members of the 400 Mawozo gang.