This repatriation is a result of three separate interdictions at sea in the south Florida Straits. These events consisted of Cubans attempting to illegally enter the United States on unseaworthy vessels commonly referred to as “rustics” or “chugs.” In these instances, the Coast Guard not only helped secure the U.S. border, but they also prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
The Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo, 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.
“We recognize that smugglers are perpetuating rumors of changes to our immigration policy and some people may believe it. They may get desperate and take to the ocean in very unseaworthy vessels which creates a dangerous situation,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, the chief of response for the Coast Guard’s 7th District. “Everyone needs to understand the Coast Guard’s missions have not changed so if migrants are interdicted at sea, then they will be returned to their country of origin.”
Coast Guard assets involved in these interdictions:
Coast Guard Cutters Isaac Mayo and Charles Sexton are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in Key West, Florida
Coast Guard Cutter Confidence, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Cape Canaveral, Florida
Coast Guard Cutter Bear, a 210-foot medium endruance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia
Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami Beach, Florida
Coast Guard Cutter William Flores, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Miami Beach
Coast Guard Cutter Gannet, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Dania, Florida
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 illegally 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.