U.S. Coast Guard returns 169 migrants to Cuba

The United States Coast Guard has repatriated 169 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, last week.

These repatriations are a result of nine separate migrant interdictions at sea in the South Florida Straits.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it observed a steady increase in illegal maritime migration attempts from Cuba to the Southeastern U.S. since the U.S. announcement of improved diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, nearly 13 months ago. So far, for the month of January, 396 Cuban migrants have been interdicted attempting to reach U.S. shores.

Captain Mark Fedor, Coast Guard 7th District chief of response, said: “Immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in unseaworthy vessels. It is illegal and extremely dangerous.”

The Coast Guard and partner agencies patrol the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea to detect and deter illegal and unsafe maritime migration.

Since October 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 1,942 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.