On Thursday, August 19, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas traveled to Miami, Florida to participate in a series of important engagements with the Cuban and Haitian diaspora communities in Miami focused on hearing from community leaders about critical issues in their countries of origin and providing updates on the latest actions from the Administration. Secretary Mayorkas was joined by Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Principal Advisor to the Administrator Mark Feierstein. The Secretary’s meetings with community leaders were the latest engagements carried out by the White House Office of Public Engagement during these critical moments – the President met with Cuban American leaders at the White House in July, and Gonzalez met with Haitian diaspora leaders following his trip to Haiti in July.
In Miami, Secretary Mayorkas met with Cuban American leaders at La Ermita de la Caridad to reiterate the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued support for the Cuban people – including last month’s historic demonstrations in Cuba and the Administration’s response, which have included placing sanctions and working to get internet to the island.
Secretary Mayorkas and Representative Frederica Wilson also engaged with Haitian American community leaders at Notre Dame D’Haiti to express the Biden-Harris Administration’s steadfast commitment to and diligent work in ensuring the safety and well-being of Haitians as the country recovers from back-to-back severe political and natural disaster crises.
While in South Florida, Secretary Mayorkas, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava visited the site of the tragic Surfside condo building collapse to pay their respects to the nearly 100 victims lost in the June disaster. Secretary Mayorkas also visited the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department to personally thank the first responders for their efforts.
At Miami International Airport, Secretary Mayorkas thanked the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for their dedicated efforts as frontline workers today and every day to keep the traveling American public safe.
Also while in Miami, NSC Senior Director Gonzalez, USAID Principal Advisor Feierstein, and Florida State Senator Annette Taddeo met with Colombian and Venezuelan community leaders. Administration officials provided updates on how the Administration is navigating global challenges and they heard from community leaders about their concerns.