The United States Coast Guard has warned would-be illegal migrants not to risk the dangerous journey across the Florida Straits, Windward and Mona Passages, or the Caribbean sea on unsafe, overloaded vessels.
“Please do not encourage your family or friends to risk the dangerous journey,” a Coast Guard statement said.
The statement also appealed to family members not to send would-be illegal migrants money to fund their trip or pay human smugglers.
According to the Coast Guard, the smugglers’ empty promises may result in an empty chair at the family table this winter.
And the agency warned that Homeland Security officials patrolling 24/7 throughout the holidays by land, air and sea would interdict vessels engaged in illegal voyages.
“The southeastern maritime border is not open, and anyone attempting to enter the U.S. illegally by sea or found to be in the country without a legal basis will be rescued and repatriated to their country of origin or departure,” the Coast Guard asserted.
It also warned that human smugglers would face prosecution.
“Choose a safe, legal pathway to migration,” the Coast Guard advised.
In the 2021 fiscal year, authorities apprehended more than 3,200 migrants trying to reach the United States by sea.
Florida authorities detained 1,316 Cubans, Haitians, and Dominicans — representing the bulk of all migrants — in the 2021 fiscal year, compared with 588 in 2020 and 748 in 2019.
Headline stock photo: Illegal migrants