This repatriation is a result of five separate interdictions at sea in the south Florida Straits. These events all 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 William Trump, 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 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.