The United States Coast Guard repatriated 96 illegal Caribbean migrants last week after intercepting three vessels in Mona Passage waters off the west coast of Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley crew returned the migrants to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.
“We urge anyone seeking to cross the Mona Passage by any unlawful means to not take to the sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Edward Kunigonis, Sector San Juan chief of enforcement.
Kunigonis warned that such voyages are dangerous and often occur aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessels with no lifesaving equipment.
He warned that once caught, illegal migrants could face possible prosecution, be returned to their country of origin, or risk disqualification from entering the United States legally in the future.
The Coast Guard and Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners maintain a continual presence with air, land, and sea assets in the Florida Straits, the Windward Passage, the Mona Passage, and the Caribbean Sea.
They collaborate to protect life at sea.
And according to the Coast Guard, with their combined multi-layered approach, the agencies interdicted several unlawful, irregular maritime migration events over the past few days.