The US Coast Guard Returns 83 Cuban Rafters in Four Days

The US Coast Guard prevents a group of rafters from disembarking in Florida. (Twitter/@USCGSoutheast)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 March 2023 — The United States Coast Guard continues to repatriate Cuban rafters who are intercepted on the high seas. This Tuesday, 29 nationals of the Island were returned. The agency insisted that “they work 24 hours a day to prevent people from disembarking illegally in the United States.”

According to official data, since October 2022, the crossing of 6,107 Cubans has been stopped, which almost equals the 6,182 rafters of the previous fiscal year.

The US authorities indicated that, despite the fact that since January the White House and the Department of Homeland Security announced new legal avenues to enter the United States, the number of rafters detained on the high seas and illegal landings  in Florida continue.

Between March 17 and 24, the Coast Guard reported the repatriation and transfer of 82 migrants who tried to reach the United States on four rustic crafts. Of this group, 15 rafters, without specifying their nationality, were transferred to the Bahamas, and three more remain in custody.

The other 64 of Cuban origin were returned to the Island last Friday on the ship Bernard Webber. Captain Robert Kinsey, of Coast Guard District Seven, said in a statement that in the last five months “15 people have died by taking unnecessary risks” on their crossing of the Florida Straits aboard boats “not suitable for sailing without security equipment.”

Reference was made to the rescue, last Tuesday, of 28 rafters who were adrift, 10 of them in the water. Two of these migrants had to be hospitalized and one disappeared.

The U.S. Coast Guard reiterated that detained rafters are provided with medical assistance, food and are returned to their country of origin, in addition to the fact that they will not be eligible for the humanitarian parole program.

Meanwhile, in Florida this Wednesday there were protests against two bills, SB 1718 and HB 1617, presented by Republicans Blaise Ingoglia and Kiyan Michael, which seek to “severely restrict” the movement of irregular immigrants within the state, as well as track their information in hospitals.

One of them, SB 1718, is under discussion in the Senate Substitute Committee, while the other, HB 1617, is in the Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives.

Similar legislation enacted in Georgia and Alabama more than 10 years ago was declared unconstitutional by an appeals court, recalled the SPLC Action Fund, which defines itself as an organization that “works with communities to dismantle white supremacy.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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