USCG Repatriates 86 MigrantsBy Joseph R. Fonseca
Coast Guard crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. and the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant repatriated 86 migrants illegally migrating from Cuba and Haiti.
These repatriations are a result of five separate interdictions of people attempting to illegally migrate to the United States through the Florida Straits stemming back to Sunday.
On Aug. 21, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores interdicted 24 Haitian migrants (12 males, nine females, three infants) north of Grand Bahamas Island, Bahamas. Sixteen of the migrants were reported to have jumped into the water but were subsequently rescued by the motor vessel Cap Guillame and the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores. All 24 migrants were safely transferred to the William Flores and were given a medical evaluation. The migrants remained aboard until their repatriation Saturday by the Coast Guard Valiant. The Coast Guard also turned over an Ecuadorian and Bahamian national to Bahamian authorities.
In a span of a week in the south Florida Straits, Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection units located and interdicted 62 Cuban migrants from unseaworthy, homemade vessels in three separate interdictions. The Coast Guard cutters Charles Sexton, Charles David Jr., and Key Biscayne embarked all the migrants due to safety of life at sea concerns and later transferred them to the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa where they all received medical attention, food and water.
The Charles David Jr. repatriated the 62 migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba on Thursday and Saturday.
"Along with our Department of Homeland Security and international partners, the Coast Guard continues to robustly patrol the Florida Straits and Caribbean sea to prevent migrants from taking the perilous and illegal maritime journey to the United States. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, we will seek to quickly repatriate illegal migrants to their respective countries," said Capt Mark Gordon, Chief of Response Enforcement for the Seventh Coast Guard District in Miami.
Coast Guard assets involved in the cases were:
• Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton
• Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr.
• Coast Guard Cutter William Flores
• Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne
• Coast Guard Cutter Tampa
• Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered
• Coast Guard Cutter Valiant
In fiscal year 2014, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 5,025 Haitians, 3,326 Cubans and 539 Dominicans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
All the migrants interdicted were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutters Robert Yered and the Charles David Jr. for repatriation.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter all migrants receive food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention.