In the early morning hours, a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was on a routine patrol in the Mona Passage and indentified the migrants on the desolate, uninhabited island. Quick to respond, the Coast Guard Command Center alerted the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), a partnership of local and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
Through a coordinated effort, seven Cuban migrants and twenty-six Haitian migrants were safely removed from Monito Island by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo. Once aboard the Coast Guard Cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. The thirty-three migrants were subsequently transported to Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico for processing.
CBIG was formally created to unify the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection , Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Office of Border Patrol – Ramey Sector, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.
The Key Largo and other Island-class patrol boats are being replaced by 58 new, Sentinel-class fast response cutters. The FRC will be capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 18-feet. The speed and stability of the FRC delivers tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement and homeland security capabilities in the same package.
The Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo is a 110-foot patrol boat, homeported in San Juan.
For more information on how to legally immigrate to the United States, call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.