NEWS

Boatload of migrants photobombs Miami modelling shoot

07/28/2015 05:26 EDT | Updated 07/28/2016 05:59 EDT

A group of migrants inadvertently interrupted a beach fashion shoot earlier this month in Miami.

On July 10, visual artist Ekaterina Juskowski was shooting video of her friend, a model, on Miami Beach when she noticed a green motor boat appear in the background, she told the Broward Palm Beach New Times.

Thinking her video was ruined by the photobombers, Juskowski shut off the camera momentarily, but turned it back on when she saw all the men jump off the boat and into the water.

Her video captures what appears to be nine men racing from the boat to the shoreline, and then into the city. Their empty boat is left behind, bobbing in the water.

The U.S. Border Patrol confirmed to the New Times that it was investigating the incident.

"That's a testament to how confident these organizations are — what we call transnational criminal organizations — who smuggle criminals and narcotics right onto the beach," spokesman Frank Miller told the paper.

"There has been an increase in known maritime smuggling in Florida — from Key West all along the Florida coast — from fiscal year 2014 to now," he added.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard website, there were 3,587 "maritime migrant interdictions" in 2014, with more than half of those coming from Cuba. It's not clear where the migrants in Juskowski's video hail from.

But if they're ever caught, they could face fines, imprisonment and deportation for entering the country illegally, according to U.S. law.

Illegal immigration has long been a hot-button issue in the U.S.

The Pew Research Center estimates that there were 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country in 2014, making up about 3.5 per cent of the population. About half are from Mexico.

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