In Six Months, the US Coast Guard Thwarted 6,202 Cuban Rafters

The US Coast Guard thwarted the landing attempt of a group of Cubans who made the crossing on the raft ’The Faith of God’. (Twitter/@USCGSoutheast)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 April 2023 — In the last six months the United States Coast Guard has thwarted the attempt of 6,202 Cuban rafters to reach Florida. According to official data, this figure exceeds the total of the entire previous year, which was 6,182. Lieutenant John Beal of District Seven reiterated that “anyone who tries to enter the United States illegally by sea will be rescued and repatriated.”

Beal stressed that “those rafters who disembark will be arrested and prosecuted for expulsion.” This is the procedure faced by the 14 Cubans who managed to make landfall on Friday in the Florida Keys. The migrants arrived in two rafts, and one of the groups had a dog with him.

Although the landing of Cubans in Florida has decreased since last January, the Chief Officer of the Border Patrol, Walter Slosar, documented with images the arrival of 89 nationals of the Island in March. The largest group, 48 Cubans, was registered after their two rafts arrived at the Dry Tortugas National Park on March 4.

This national park in the Florida Keys had to close in January due to the arrival of at least 300 migrants in two days. These landings occurred just as Washington implemented the humanitarian parole program to receive 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, and Nicaragua on a monthly basis, in an attempt to stop the massive illegal arrival of people from those countries.

During the month of January, the US authorities granted the rafters who managed to land “an expedited deportation order,” the verdict issued by a judge for the expulsion of a person but which can be reversed with legal advice. Currently, they are being prosecuted and returned to their country of origin, noting that “they will not be eligible for the humanitarian parole program.”

This Sunday, the Coast Guard delivered 64 rafters to Cuba, and counting them there have been 2,998 irregular migrants returned to the Island this year. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the group was made up of 54 men and 10 women.

The migrants, mostly from Matanzas and Mayabeque, were handed over to the Cuban authorities in the port of Orozco in Artemisa province. Two of these people “were transferred to the investigative bodies, because before being involved in the illegal exits they were investigated as possible perpetrators of serious criminal acts,” the Ministry of the Interior said.

On the other hand, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to receive 30,000 migrants a month who are expelled by the United States, and this has generated an increase in arrests and confinement of foreigners in centers of the National Institute of Migration (INM), where abuses, extortion and human rights violations predominate.

In a temporary-stay area created by the Government, located on the Ciudad Juárez border, 38 migrants died as a result of a fire, out of the 700 who were held there. On Monday, the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection reported that the death toll had risen to 40.

“At the moment, 40 people have died and 27 are injured, of which 23 remain hospitalized,” the INM said in a statement. Among the victims are six Hondurans, seven Salvadorans, 18 Guatemalans, one Colombian and seven Venezuelans. The identity of the last deceased person is still unknown.

According to Mexican civil organizations, 2022 was the most tragic year for migrants in Mexico, since about 900 died in an attempt to cross into the United States without documents.

The region is experiencing a record migratory flow, with 2.76 million undocumented people detained at the U.S. border with Mexico since last October.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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