While on routine patrol a Coast Guard aircraft spotted a vessel with migrants aboard south of Marquesas Keys, Florida, Wednesday. The aircraft notified Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders who quickly diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous to the scene. Upon arriving on scene, the Venturous crew embarked 14 Cuban migrants including 10 men and four women. Twelve Cuban migrants were later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence for repatriation. Two migrants were medevaced with medical concerns to Key West, Florida.
The cutters Venturous and Confidence along with numerous other Coast Guard patrol boats and aircraft, aggressively patrol the Florida Straits to detect and deter illegal and unsafe maritime migration. Safety of life at sea is always the Coast Guard’s top priority.
“Coast Guard missions and operations in the Southeast remain unchanged including no changes to U.S. immigration policies. The Coast Guard strongly discourages attempts to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, Coast Guard 7th District chief of response enforcement. “Migrants interdicted at sea will be returned to their country of origin in accordance with U.S. immigration laws.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
In fiscal year 2015, 4,462 Cuban migrants attempted to illegaly migrate to the U.S. via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
For more information on how to legally immigrate to the U.S., call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.