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Coast Guard Takes 23 Illegal Sea Migrants Back To Hispaniola; 2,100 Since October

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser repatriated 11 Dominican migrants and returned 12 Haitians to the Dominican Republic Saturday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage in the Mona Passage.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing Coast Guard and Caribbean Border Interagency group partner efforts to deter and stop illegal voyages in the Mona Passage. Since October 1, 2020, the Coast Guard and CBIG federal and state partner agencies have interdicted and or apprehended 2,100 migrants traveling illegally to Puerto Rico.

“We urge any person thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage to not take to the sea,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “Your life will be at risk, as will the lives of everyone aboard the vessel. The perils are many, including traveling with ruthless smugglers, aboard grossly overloaded makeshift vessels, in dangerous sea states, with little or no lifesaving equipment onboard. Those making this voyage should expect to be returned to their country of origin and also may face prosecution. The dangers are real, please don’t trust your life to a smuggler or in a makeshift vessel.”

The interdiction took place Thursday afternoon, after a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) marine patrol aircraft crew sighted a migrant vessel, approximately 42 nautical miles north of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The cutter Winslow Griesser diverted to the scene and interdicted the 25-foot makeshift boat with 11 Dominicans, 11 Haitian adults and 1 Haitian minor aboard.

The crew of the Winslow Griesser transferred the adult migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just outside Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, while the minor was transferred to local authorities ashore from the Childrens and Adolescents National Council CONANI.

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

The Coast Guard Cutters Winslow Griesser is a fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the 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 (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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