FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday September 23, 2015 – The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has sent 121 Cuban migrants back home in the past week, after they were caught trying to enter the US illegally.
They were held in nine separate interdictions at sea in the south Florida Straits and, according to the Coast Guard, in each case the Cubans were travelling on unseaworthy vessels commonly referred to as “rustics” or “chugs.”
The USCG said it had therefore not only helped secure the US border, but also prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy, adding that the migrants all received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention once they boarded the Coast Guard vessels.
“Despite the recent steps to begin normalizing ties with Cuba, the Coast Guard’s missions and operations in the southeast remain unchanged,” said Captain Mark Fedor, Coast Guard 7th District chief of response.
“Our immigration policies remain the same, and we continue to strongly discourage those attempting to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea. There are legal ways to enter this country and this is not it.”
Since October 1 last year, 4,308 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea, according to the USCG. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.