The Coast Guard interdicts a group of Cuban migrants trying to illegally enter the US in January. US Coast Guard photo
MIAMI, USA -- The Coast Guard repatriated 169 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, on Thursday.
These repatriations are a result of nine separate migrant interdictions at sea in the South Florida Straits. In each instance, the Coast Guard helped secure the US border and prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
The Coast Guard has observed a steady increase in illegal maritime migration attempts from Cuba to the Southeastern US since the US announcement of improved diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, nearly 13 months ago. So far, for the month of January, 396 Cuban migrants have been interdicted attempting to reach US shores.
“Immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels," said Capt. Mark Fedor, Coast Guard 7th District chief of response. "It is illegal and extremely dangerous.”
The Coast Guard and partner agencies aggressively patrol the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea to detect and deter illegal and unsafe maritime migration. Safety of life at sea is always the Coast Guard's top priority.
Since October 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 1,942 Cubans have attempted to migrate illegally via the sea. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.