US Border Patrol apprehends 11 Cubans in western Puerto Rico and interdicts six migrants 39 miles east of Islamorada

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AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico –Ramey Station US Border Patrol Agents, along with the Aguada municipal police, apprehended 11 aliens from Cuba that reached Puerto Rico’s western coast Thursday.

“As with all aliens that we apprehend, we will process according to immigration law and identify anyone in the group that may have a prior criminal history that qualifies them for prosecution,” indicated Xavier Morales, chief patrol agent of the Ramey Sector. “We want to reiterate that Cubans are not afforded any special considerations and will be processed, ordered removed and returned to Cuba.”

On the afternoon of June 6, Ramey Border Patrol agents along with the Aguada Municipal Police, a Stonegarden partner, responded to a maritime smuggling event finding a group of aliens, seven men and four women, all claiming to be from Cuba. No vessel was located on shore.  All aliens were transported to the Ramey Station for immigration processing and removal.

On January 12, 2017, the administration announced the immediate cessation of the wet feet, dry feet policy. For the fiscal year 2017, Ramey Border Patrol agents apprehended 184 Cubans and in 2018 apprehended four. To date, only one Cuban had been detained.

CBP maintains a strong position regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws along the country’s borders and coastal areas.

The Operation Stonegarden Grant Program (OPSG) is designed to enhance cooperation and coordination from the US Border Patrol with local, tribal, territorial, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the border.

The Ramey sector is the newest of the 21 sectors spread out across the United States; encompassing the US territorial islands of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it is the only border patrol sector located outside the continental United States. The sector’s entire border area is made up of coastline and its area of responsibility is made up of some 6,000 square miles of land and water area, including the twelve-mile band of territorial water surrounding the Islands.

US Coast Guard cutters

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard interdicted six Cuban migrants Thursday, 39 miles east of Islamorada. Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders received a notification from a good Samaritan vessel stating they were on scene with a wooden rowboat with six people aboard requesting water. The watchstanders diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David, Jr (WPC-1107) to assist.

The Cutter Charles David, Jr crew arrived on scene and embarked the six people, claiming Cuban nationality, due to the safety of life at sea concerns with the unsafe vessel.

“The Coast Guard continues to maintain a focused and coordinated effort with multiple agency assets to interdict any attempt to dangerously and unlawfully immigrate by sea to the United States,” said Cmdr Michael Vega, Coast Guard 7th District enforcement branch. “Those who are interdicted at sea attempting to illegally immigrate will be repatriated to their country in accordance with existing US immigration policy.”

Approximately 308 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally enter the US via the maritime environment in the fiscal year 2019 compared to 384 Cuban migrants in the fiscal year 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.

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