Coast Guard Repatriates 32 Dominicans, Detains 8 Migrants

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo repatriated 32 Dominican migrants today to La Romana, Dominican Republic, following an at-sea interdiction by the Coast Guard Wednesday.Fourteen migrants were identified through the use of biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) as having a history of illegal immigration in the United States or a U.S. territory. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel detained four of the migrants who were attempting to illegally re-enter U.S. territory after having been previously deported and formally removed from U.S. territory. Four other migrants were detained for attempting to enter illegally into U.S. territory for the third time, and the remaining six migrants were repatriated to La Romana.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo transferred custody of the seven male and one female detained migrants to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez today, for further processing in anticipation of filing of charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Key Largo located and interdicted the migrant yola at 3:39 a.m. Wednesday during a law enforcement patrol in the Mona Passage. The grossly overloaded yola was taking on water when interdicted by the Key Largo approximately three nautical miles southwest of Rincon, Puerto Rico. The crew of the Key Largo safely embarked the migrants and destroyed the migrant yola as a hazard to navigation.

After transferring custody of the detained migrants to Border Patrol agents, the Key Largo went underway to La Romana to repatriate the 32 migrants who remained onboard. The repatriation was completed at approximately 1 p.m. today when custody of the migrants was transferred to Dominican Republic navy authorities in La Romana.

Since its inception in Nov. 2006, U.S. Coast Guard/U.S. Visit Biometrics Proof of Concept, biometric data has been collected on 830 migrants during 35 at-sea interdictions in the Mona Passage. Thus far, 49 migrants have been brought ashore for filing of charges and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

The biometric capability employed in this case provides the Coast Guard with an important tool to definitively establish the identity of those interdicted at sea who may attempt to enter or re-enter the United States illegally, or who may pose a threat to national security.

Collecting biometric identification supports the U.S. Government’s efforts to target human smugglers and protect migrants put at risk attempting to enter the United States illegally from the sea.

Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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