MIAMI — The Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. repatriated 38 Cuban migrants Thursday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.
These repatriations are a result of three 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.
“We discourage anyone from taking to the sea and attempting to reach U.S. soil illegally – they are risking their lives with very little chance of success,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “Navigating the Florida Straits can be extremely dangerous for the unprepared on illegal voyages and often leads to injury or death. Coast Guard missions and operations in the Southeast remain unchanged. Migrants located at sea will be repatriated to their country of origin.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
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 827 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.
The Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Key West.