US Coast Guard returns 77 Dominican, 6 Haitian migrants to the Dominican Republic

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier crew transferred 77 Dominican and six Haitian migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Wednesday near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages in the Mona Passage.

The first illegal voyage was interdicted by the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser, a Customs a Border Protection and two Puerto Rico police marine units, and a Coast Guard MH-60T helicopter Monday morning, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement initially detected the 25-foot vessel just off Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

The aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a second illegal voyage Tuesday morning, in waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier crew interdicted the 30-foot makeshift boat and embarked the migrants, while a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-60T helicopter flew rescue support overhead.

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

“These interdictions highlight the strong partnerships and collaboration between our Coast Guard and fellow partners who combine efforts daily to protect our nation’s shores and stop these grossly overloaded and unseaworthy makeshift vessels that endanger the lives of all the migrants onboard,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response.  “To anyone considering taking part in one of these voyages we urge them to not take to the sea, you are putting your life and the life of others at risk, and if caught, you may be prosecuted for migrating illegally to the US  Migrants who are interdicted and not prosecuted, will be returned to the country they departed from.”

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.

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