86 Dominicans and Haitians intercepted in Puerto Rico waters to be repatriated
The U.S. Coast Guard in Puerto Rico reported Friday that it has repatriated 72 Dominican migrants and returned 14 Haitians to the Dominican Republic after intercepting their boats in waters off western Puerto Rico.
According to the Coast Guard statement, one Dominican national remains in Puerto Rico to face federal prosecution on charges of attempting to re-enter the United States illegally.
The first vessel was intercepted last Tuesday after a Customs and Border Protection Maritime Force aircraft crew detected a suspicious illegal voyage in the Mona Passage in transit to Puerto Rico.
The boat carried 30 Dominican Republic nationals and seven Haitian men who were handed over to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel on Wednesday.
The second intervention occurred on Wednesday in the same area of the Mona Passage, a channel in the Antilles that separates the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico and connects the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.
The intercepted vessel was heavily overloaded and capsized. Still, all passengers were rescued by the crew of the patrol boat Heriberto Hernandez, with the assistance of Puerto Rico Police marine units.
42 Dominicans and seven Haitians were traveling on that vessel and were also handed over to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel.
From October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, the Coast Guard has intercepted 53 illegal voyages in the Mona Passage and Caribbean waters near Puerto Rico.
A total of 1,308 migrants were traveling on these vessels, mainly from the Dominican Republic (940) but also from Haiti (298), Venezuela (36), and Cuba (24), among others.