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Sen. Marco Rubio's Office Helping Haitian, Venezuelan, Ukraine Migrants Apply For TPS

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Activists are pushing for Haitian migrants to get temporary protected status after another large group arrived by boat Monday seeking a better life in the U.S.

The boat, with 123 migrants, arrived at around 11 a.m. in front of mansions that lined the beach of a residential community in Summerland Key, which is about 20 miles north of Key West. When the boat ran aground, those on board made their way to shore.

They were taken into custody by law enforcement who rendered first aid to a few needing assistance due to dehydration. The group said that they had left La Tortue Island, Haiti on March 9.

They are now in the process of being interviewed at Marathon and Dania Beach Border Patrol stations. They will then be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Their fate is unclear.

Community leader Marleine Bastien said if history is any indication of what happens next, that group will eventually be deported.

"It is unacceptable that the U.S. is sending them back without due process," she said. "Because 366 came on last Sunday, a week ago, and then 200 were sent back on Thursday. A complete violation of their basic rights because they are bona fide refugees. They deserve to be heard."

Senator Marco Rubio said he wants to help migrants from Haiti, as well as Venezuela and Ukraine. On Tuesday, his office held an event to help them begin the process of applying for temporary protected status.

In order to apply for TPS, applicants must be fleeing extreme temporary conditions such as armed conflict or an environmental disaster.

Local activists, like Bastien, are hoping the migrants who arrived Monday will be given due process considering the conditions they're fleeing.

"It is horrible, it's a country at war," she said. "When we see our brothers and sister risking their lives on rickety boats to make it to the land of the free, we know that the situation is worsening in Haiti."

Bastien said it's especially dire for women and children.

"The past few months women and children have suffered tremendously. When they're kidnapped, they are gang-raped and then killed. Even regular merchants, regular people aren't safe," she said.

Monday's arrival was the third large group of Haitian migrants to make their way to South Florida in less than a month.

Rubio's office is hosting another "TPS Day" at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church this Sunday, March 20th beginning at noon after church service. The church is located at 39 NW 57th Ct, Miami, Fl.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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