Coast Guard interdicts, repatriates 29 Cuban migrants

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket repatriated 29 Cuban migrants Friday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba. The migrants were interdicted during four separate cases.

Two groups of migrants were located Monday. The crew of the Cutter Shrike safely embarked six migrants about 60 miles south of Key West, Fla., and the crew of the Virginia-based Cutter Forward safely embarked 10 Cuban migrants about 43 miles southwest of Key West.

A boat crew from Station Islamorada, Fla., responded to a call Sunday from a good Samaritan stating they located a raft carrying nine Cuban migrants about nine miles south of Islamorada. The boat crew safely embarked the migrants without incident.

The crew of the Cutter Shrike interdicted a rustic vessel Saturday carrying five Cuban migrants about 15 miles north of Havana.

The Coast Guard interdicted 2,868 Cuban migrants during fiscal year 2007, from Oct. 1, 2006 to Sept. 30, 2007.

Since Oct. 1, 2007, the Coast Guard has interdicted 2,140 Cuban migrants, representing about a 25-percent reduction from the previous fiscal year.

During this same timeline, nearly 100 migrants have died or are missing and presumed dead while trying to illegally migrate to the U.S. This includes a tragic Cuban migrant death during a suspected illegal human smuggling operation, Wednesday. There is a controlled, safe and legal means of migration to the U.S. Trying to enter the U.S. illegally needlessly endangers the lives of migrants and those sworn to protect our borders.

The Coast Guard, along with its Department of Homeland Security partners, continues to enforce U.S. policy with regard to illegal migration.

Once aboard Coast Guard cutters, migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and necessary medical attention.

The Cutter Shrike is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.

The Cutter Nantucket is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Miami Beach, Fla.

The Forward is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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