Coast Guard interdicts 19 illegal migrants 22 miles northwest of Mona Island

Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney

Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon (WPC-1113) crew interdicted 19 illegal migrants Saturday approximately 22 miles northwest of Mona Island.

A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft crew spotted a 20-foot yola approximately 22 miles northwest of Mona Island. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the cutter Richard Dixon crew who arrived to find the vessel dead in the water. The Richard Dixon crew safely embarked the 14 Dominican adult males, one Dominican adult female, one Dominican minor, two Haitian adult females and one Cuban male aboard the cutter.

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) crew transferred 13 migrants to the Dominican Republic Navy, five migrants to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and one migrant to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Approximately 3,031 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 2,727 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2018. Approximately 1,513 Dominican migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 829 Dominican migrants in fiscal year 2018. Approximately 405 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 384 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2018. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean, and Atlantic.

“Migrants attempting to enter the United States from the sea must understand that this is extremely dangerous,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Hodges, duty enforcement officer at Coast Guard 7th District. “They are often grossly overloaded, unseaworthy vessels, without any safety equipment. The sea state can change in an instant under terrible weather conditions and is unforgiving to the ill equipped vessels that are often used for these voyages. Sadly, many migrants have lost their lives in these attempts.”

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

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