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Press Release | July 3, 2023

Coast Guard repatriates 44 migrants to Dominican Republic, following makeshift vessel interdiction in Mona Passage

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle crew repatriated 44 migrants to Dominican Republic, Monday, following the interdiction of a makeshift vessel in Mona Passage waters off the northwest coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Three migrants from previous interdiction events in the Mona Passage were among those repatriated. The interdicted migrants claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals except for one Haitian national.

“Coast Guard crews alongside our federal and state partners are maximizing the use of our air, surface and land-based collective resources to deter and interdict irregular maritime migration events in the Mona and Windward Passages, as well as the Florida Straits, in order to prevent loss of life at sea,” said Capt. José Díaz, Sector San Juan commander. “We urge anyone thinking of taking part in one of these voyages – do not take to the sea – as their life and the lives of everyone else in the voyage will be at risk.  Those interdicted at sea must understand that they will not be allowed to stay in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Migrants who arrive unlawfully will be repatriated to their county or origin and will be ineligible for legal immigration parole options.”

During the interdiction, the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley crew interdicted a 30-foot makeshift vessel that was initially detected by the aircrew of Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, Friday, in waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The migrants were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier and then to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle for their transport to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where the repatriation was completed. Dominican Republic Navy authorities and representatives from the Children and local Adolescents National Council (CONANI) received the repatriated migrants. 

The Coast Guard, along with its Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners, maintains a continual presence with air, land, and sea assets in the Florida Straits, the Windward Passage, the Mona Passage and the Caribbean Sea. The HSTF-SE combined, multi-layered approach is designed to protect the safety of life at sea while preventing unlawful maritime entry to the United States and its territories.

Since Oct. 1, 2022, through May 31, 2023, the Coast Guard has interdicted 46 migrant vessels in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period were 1,473 non-U.S. citizens including 1,209 Dominicans, 242 Haitians, 13 Venezuelans, seven Kazakhs, one Albanian, one Colombian, and one other of undetermined nationality.

Coast Guard Cutters Donald Horsley, Joseph Napier and Joseph Doyle are 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

U.S. residents inquiring about family members potentially interdicted at sea by the Coast Guard, please contact the office of your local federal U.S. representative or Senator. Relatives located outside the United States please contact family members who are U.S. residents to follow the same process on your behalf.

Make a difference on land, in the air, or at sea with the U.S. Coast Guard. Visit to find out how to be a part of the team.

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