Coast Guard Cutter William Flores repatriates 62 migrants

William FloresMIAMI — The Coast Guard repatriated 62 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, since Nov. 4.

The Coast Guard Cutter William Flores repatriated 62 Cuban migrants Sunday.

These repatriations are a result of five separate at-sea migrant interdictions in the South Florida Straits. In each instance, the Coast Guard helped secure the U.S. border and prevented these sea voyages from ending in tragedy.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

“We strongly discourage anyone from taking to the sea and attempting to reach US soil illegally,” said Cmdr. Willie Carmichael, deputy of 7th Coast Guard District department of enforcement. “Migrants who choose to board unseaworthy vessels put their lives at severe risk of injury and death. They are risking their lives with very little chance of success. Immigration policies have not changed, the Coast Guard’s missions have not changed. Migrants interdicted at sea will be returned to their country of origin in accordance with immigration laws.”

The Coast Guard has observed an increase in illegal maritime migration attempts to the Southeastern U.S. from Cuba. The Coast Guard 7th District estimates 598 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea since Oct. 1. In fiscal year 2016, 7,411 Cubans attempted to illegally migrate via the sea compared to 4,473 in fiscal year 2015. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

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