Coast Guard repatriates 71 Cuban migrants

The Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon-Paul Rios)MIAMI — The Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans repatriated 71 Cuban migrants Sunday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

This repatriation was a result of five separate at-sea migrant interdictions in the South Florida Straits between Jan. 4 and Jan. 6, prior to the Department of Homeland Security policy change on Jan. 12. 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 especially with the rough weather we are seeing. The Coast Guard and our partner agencies continue our missions and operations in the Southeast and remain ready to stop those who take the illegal, ill advised and unsafe journey across the Florida Straits.”

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Since Oct. 1 at least 1,893 Cubans attempted to migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment compared to 7,411 in fiscal year 2016. These statistics represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

The Cutter Raymond Evans is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Key West.

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