Coast Guard repatriates 18 Haitian migrants

The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, a 418-foot Legend Class Cutter, is escorted by the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores off the coast of Miami, Nov. 11, 2014. The Hamilton is the fourth National Security Cutter designed to replace the 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney)

Coast Guard Cutter William Flores off the coast of Miami. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney)

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter William Trump repatriated 18 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitian, Haiti, Thursday.

On Monday, a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air Marine (CPB-OAM) boat interdicted a 28-foot non-compliant vessel suspected of migrant smuggling near Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The CBP-OAM boat crew disabled the vessel’s engines and detained a suspected smuggler. Aboard the vessel were one Jamaican migrant, one Dominican migrant and 18 Haitian migrants.  The Coast Guard Cutter William Flores arrived on scene and safely embarked the Haitian migrants, later transferring them to the William Trump for repatriation. The suspected smuggler, Jaimaican and Dominican were transferred ashore for further investigation.

Once aboard a Coast Guard Cutter, migrants receive food, water and basic medical attention.

“This deliberate attempt to smuggle illegal migrants into south Florida unnecessarily put lives at great risk including those of young children,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, Coast Guard 7th District deputy chief of enforcement. “The Coast Guard, along with our interagency partners will continue to protect and secure our maritime border. We will also seek to prosecute smugglers, who have no regard for safety of life at sea, to the fullest extent of the law and promptly return illegal migrants to their respective county of origin.”

The Coast Guard Cutter William Trump is a 154-foot fast response cutter, homeported in Key West, Florida.

The Coast Guard Cutter William Flores is a 154-foot fast response cutter, homeported in Miami.

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 2,245 Haitians, 2,806 Cubans and 469 Dominicans have attempted to illegally migrate 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.

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