These repatriations are a result of seven separate interdictions at sea in the south Florida Straits. These were interdictions of Cuban nationals attempting to illegally enter the United States on unseaworthy vessels commonly referred to as “rustics” or “chugs.” In each instance, the Coast Guard not only helped secure the U.S. border, but also prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
The Coast Guard and partner agencies 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.
“U.S. immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels. It is illegal and extremely dangerous,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, the chief of response for the Coast Guard’s 7th District. “Once migrants are interdicted at sea, they will be returned to their country of origin.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
So far in fiscal year 2016, 915 Cuban migrants have 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.