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Press Release | March 3, 2023

Coast Guard repatriates 26 Dominicans, returns 61 of 65 Haitians to the Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 26 Dominican nationals and returned 61 of 65 Haitians to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Friday, following the interdiction of two illegal voyage vessels Wednesday and Thursday in the Mona Passage.

Two Haitian minors, each accompanied by their mothers, who were interdicted in Thursday’s group will be returned separately along with their mothers to the Cabinet for Children and Adolescents (GANA) and the National Council for Children and Adolescents (Conani). 

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

During Thursday’s interdiction the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon interdicted a 30-foot makeshift boat, after it was initially detected by the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection maritime enforcement aircraft, approximately nine nautical miles northwest Monito Cay, Puerto Rico. Following the interdiction, the crew of the cutter Richard Dixon crew safely embarked 39 Haitians, 26 male and 13 females, including two minors, and two Dominican men.

During Wednesday’s interdiction the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted a 26-foot makeshift boat, after it was initially detected by the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, approximately 46 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Following the interdiction, the crew of the cutter Joseph Tezanos crew safely embarked 26 Haitians, 23 men and three women, and 24 Dominicans, 21 men and three women.

“Irregular migration aboard grossly overloaded makeshift vessels is highly dangerous and puts the lives of men, women and children at risk,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Sector San Juan commander. “We are committed to saving lives and call anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage to not take to the sea.  If caught, you could be returned to your country of origin, placed in removal proceedings or be ineligible for parole.”

From Oct. 1, 2022, through February 28, 2023, the Coast Guard has carried out 19 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico.  Interdicted during this period, are 562 non-U.S. citizens, including 462 Dominicans, 98 Haitians and one of unknown nationality.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.