The Coast Guard has announced that since October of last year it has intercepted 4,500 persons, most of them Haitian and Dominican along with about 300 Cubans, while attempting to reach the U.S. by boat. Since May 20 alone, approximately 2,474 Haitian migrants have attempted to “illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment.” This week the Guard released a video discouraging the growing practice of “asylum seekers” to take small and often un-seaworthy craft, manned by inexperienced sailors, to cross the hundreds of miles across open water from the islands of Hispaniola or Cuba to, typically, the Florida coast.
On Monday an overloaded 30-foot boat containing 36 Haitian males and 14 Haitian females was interdicted about 46 miles north of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. That same day, 12 Cuban migrants were interdicted 12 miles off of Villa Clara Province, Cuba. On Tuesday, 18 Dominican migrants were returned home after being apprehended the previous day off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. On Wednesday, a Coast Guard cutter intercepted an overloaded 45-foot wooden freighter, filled with 177 Haitian migrants, in the Bahamas. On Thursday, another cutter intercepted a 20-foot vessel with 14 Haitian migrants and two suspected smugglers aboard, roughly 46 miles east of Boca Raton.
Clearly, in addition to their missions of marine rescue and drug law enforcement, the Coast Guard is being kept busy intercepting would-be illegal migrants. Fortunately, migrants apprehended on the high seas are typically returned to their homeland, while smugglers are arrested.
For more, see the Migrant Interdiction section of the Coast Guard News.