The US Coast Guard in San Juan reported this Thursday that it deported 28 Dominican immigrants after stopping a boat in the waters near Mona Island, off the west coast of Puerto Rico.
They lamented in a statement, “Despite numerous recent rescues at sea involving illegal irregular migration voyages, smugglers systematically refuse to comply when stopped, putting the lives of all migrants on these voyages at risk.” “Put in danger.” Gerard Wenk, response chief of the Coast Guard’s San Juan Sector.
A Customs and Border Protection team detected an overloaded boat near Cabo Rojo in southwestern Puerto Rico last Sunday night, according to officials.
The Coast Guard of the San Juan Sector diverted the ship Paul Clark and deployed Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Maritime Operations Unit in cooperation with the Marine Unit of the Puerto Rico Police Joint Rapid Action Force.
Once on scene, both the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection surface units detained the vessel.
The crew of the ship cutter Donald Horsley on Wednesday returned 28 migrants to the Dominican Republic, two of them intercepted in another operation.
“We thank all of our interagency partners for their response, which has been instrumental in ensuring the safe recovery and return of all migrants,” Wenk said.
After boarding the Coast Guard ship, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical care, according to officials.
“For those thinking of taking part in illegal migration, do not go to sea, it could save your life,” Wenk said.
From October 1, 2023, through January 31, 2024, the Coast Guard has conducted 24 illegal travel interdictions in the waters off Puerto Rico.
The number of people intercepted during this period was 780 non-US citizens, including 742 Dominicans, 37 Haitians, and one Venezuelan.
Mona Island is located in the channel of the same name, which separates Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic and is a frequent migratory route.