US Returns 21 Rafters to Cuba, Making 1,621 Already in 2023

The US Coast Guard has already made 18 repatriations so far this year. (Twitter/@USCGSoutheast)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 10 February 2023 — The United States Coast Guard Service (SGC) returned a group of 21 irregular migrants to Cuba this Thursday through the port of Orozco, reported the Island’s Ministry of the Interior.

This new group of returned rafters, made up of 17 men and four women, had carried out an “illegal exit” by sea, a criminal offense in Cuba, the statement details.

This is the eighteenth return from the United States so far this year, for a total of 1,621 Cuban migrants returned to the island by the Coast Guard in 2023.

Last Tuesday, the US Coastguard Service handed over to the Cuban authorities another group of 16 rafters, who had been intercepted at sea after two illegal departures.

Cuba insists that it maintains its commitment “to a regular, safe and orderly migration” and insists on “the danger and life risking conditions that illegal departures from the country by sea represent.”

For several months now, the United States has seen record numbers of migrants trying to cross irregularly at its southern border, motivated, for the most part, by a new unprecedented migratory exodus from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

In the case of Cuba, a total of 224,607 citizens arrived at the southern border of the United States in fiscal year 2022 – October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022 – according to the  US Customs and Border Protection Office.

At the beginning of the year Washington implemented a policy to welcome 30,000 migrants per month from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua.

In parallel, the United States will immediately expel to Mexico migrants from those countries who try to cross into its territory irregularly.

Mexico, for its part, agreed to admit 30,000 migrants a month who are expelled from US territory.


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