Coast Guard rescues and repatriates 50 Haitian migrants

7th Coast Guard District News

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk repatriated 50 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Tuesday.

An HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami located a 40-foot sail freighter riding low in the water north of Cap Haitien. The Mohawk was diverted to render assistance.

After arriving on scene, the crew of the Mohawk discovered 50 Haitian migrants aboard the grossly overloaded vessel. Mohawk’s crew distributed personal floatation devices to each person and safely transferred them to the cutter.

“U.S. Coast Guard cutters, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft continually patrol the Caribbean to respond to life-threatening migrant smuggling attempts like this,” said Capt. Peter Brown, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of response. “Migrant vessels are typically overloaded and ill-equipped for dangerous ocean voyages, risking the lives of everyone aboard.  We are especially concerned that unscrupulous migrants smugglers and organizers may try to take advantage of recently announced changes to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Haitians in the U.S.  This program is NOT available to migrants who arrive in the U.S. now or in the future.  Migrants rescued 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.

Since Oct. 1, 2010, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 752 Haitian migrants.

The Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.

For 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.

Photos of repatriation can be viewed at the Coast Guard News Facebook page.

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