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Slightly fewer Haitian migrants tried entering US by sea so far this year

Published:Sunday | May 26, 2019 | 12:00 AM

MIAMI, CMC – The United States Coast Guard says it has interdicted 50 Haitian and 10 Cuban migrants and has repatriated them back to their home countries. 

In a statement yesterday, the Coast Guard said  the respective interdictions took place on Monday after 50 Haitian migrants were interdicted about 46 miles north of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti.

It’s reported that shortly after 5p.m., crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered, detected an overloaded 30-foot vessel and launched a small boat crew to investigate. 

The small boat crew then boarded the vessel and discovered 36 Haitian males and 14 Haitian females.

“The Robert Yered crew safely embarked the migrants and sank the vessel to prevent a hazard to navigation…. bottom line is these voyages put lives at unnecessary risk,” said Captain Jason Ryan, Coast Guard 7th District chief of enforcement. “These voyages often involve ill-advised agreements with smugglers on poorly equipped, makeshift vessels that are prone to capsizing leading to loss of life. 

“This humanitarian mission is a priority of the Coast Guard and its foreign and domestic partners – only strengthening our presence in the region to stop these illegal activities from occurring, putting safety at sea first,” he continued. 

The US Coast Guard said about 2,474 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally enter the US via the maritime environment since May 20 in fiscal year 2019, compared to 2,727 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2018. 

These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic, the US Coast Guard said.

Twelve Cuban migrants were also interdicted on Monday – 12 miles off of Villa Clara Province, Cuba.

The US Coast Guard said its 7th District watchstanders received notification of an illegal departure of a 30-foot go-fast vessel .

The Coast Guard cutter Evans crew repatriated the 10 Cuban migrants back to their home of origin, while the other two- who were suspected smugglers, were transferred into US Homeland Security Investigations custody.

“The Coast Guard maintains a focused and coordinated effort with multiple agency assets to interdict any attempt to unlawfully immigrate by sea to the United States,” said Rear Adm. Peter J. Brown, commander of Coast Guard 7th District. 

“Those who are interdicted at sea attempting to illegally immigrate will be repatriated to their country in accordance with existing US immigration policy,” he added.