SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard and Puerto Rico United Forces of Rapid Action (FURA) interdicted 11 Dominican migrants July 24 about 2 miles west of Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard 7th District said in a release.
Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a report from FURA stating they interdicted a 20-foot yola with 11 people aboard about 2 miles west of Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Resolute (WMEC-620) crew safely embarked the migrants from the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133), transferred four of them to U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody and repatriated the other seven to their home of origin.
“Attempting these at-sea migrant voyages is illegal, dangerous and unsafe, putting migrants at serious risk of potentially losing their lives, and we highly discourage these voyages from taking place,” said Lt. C. Chaffer, Sector San Juan command duty officer. “Those who are interdicted at sea attempting to illegally immigrate will be repatriated to their country in accordance with existing U.S. immigration policy. We want reinforce that taking to the sea in these ill-equipped crafts, which are often used for these types of voyages, can end in disaster, because the maritime domain can be unforgiving with changing weather and sea conditions.”
A total of 1,531 Dominican migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 829 Dominican migrants in fiscal 2018. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention.