The immigrants were intercepted as part of an operation of the US Coast Guard in collaboration with Cuban Border Guard Troops. The US forces launched a small boat into the sea to help the rafters, but 77 of them refused to accept the life preservers offered by US officials and stayed aboard the boat as it entered Cuban waters.
The Cuban Border Guard Troops took custody of the 77 rafters and on Friday deported them to Haiti, according to the information offered by the National Migration Office of that country. The Haitians were delivered to the National Housing Center to begin the process of identifying their relatives and arranging their social reintegration.
It is estimated that 1,334 Haitians have tried to illegally enter the US since October. In the same period last year, the figure was 1,869 immigrants, the Coast Guard told local media.
Editor’s Note: The Miami Herald journalist , Jacqueline Charles, contributed to this report.
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