Coast Guard repatriates 43 Dominicans

A 25-foot vessel that was transporting 16 Dominicans and 23 Haitians off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico lays empty after being interdicted by a Puerto Rico Police marine unit March 1, 2022. The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon embarked the people from the makeshift boat and returned them to the Dominican Republic March 2, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A 25-foot vessel that was transporting 16 Dominicans and 23 Haitians off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico lays empty after being interdicted by a Puerto Rico Police marine unit March 1, 2022.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 43 Dominicans and returned 23 Haitians to the Dominican Republic Wednesday, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages near Puerto Rico.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“The Coast Guard’s and our Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners strong collaboration is key to safeguarding the nation’s southernmost maritime border, and to saving countless lives from the dangers associated with illegal voyages in the Mona Passage,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Sector San Juan commander. “If you are thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we ask that you not take to the sea. You will be risking your life and endangering others along the way. If caught, you will be returned to your country of origin or you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution in U.S. courts.”

A Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted an illegal voyage Tuesday morning that was transporting 16 Dominicans and 23 Haitians aboard a 25-foot green colored makeshift boat just off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon that arrived on scene and safely embarked the migrants.

The aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection marine enforcement aircraft detected a second illegal voyage Tuesday night, approximately 28 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Cutter Richard Dixon to interdict the suspect vessel. The cutter Richard Dixon stopped the illegal voyage and embarked 27 Dominicans, 22 men and five women, from the 25-foot blue and white makeshift vessel.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

Since Oct. 1, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022, the Coast Guard and CBIG partner agencies have carried out 44 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico. So far, 1,088 non-U.S. citizens have been interdicted, who are mostly comprised of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (798 Dominicans, 253 Haitians).

  • 463 Dominican, 15 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2021
  • 491 Dominican, 08 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 429 Dominican, 06 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 280 Dominican, 04 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 262 Dominican, 03 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 246 Dominican, 19 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2016

CBIG unifies efforts between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

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