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Coast Guard sends dozens back to Cuba in early September

Coast Guard sends dozens back to Cuba in early September

Fri, 2012-09-14 08:26 AM

By: Mark Rockwell

In separate actions during the first days of September, Coast Guard

cutters picked up 52 Cuban migrants in the waters off of the Bahamas and

Key West and returned them to Cuba.

On Sept. 2, Coast Guard 7th District command center watchstanders were

notified of a disabled 35-foot boat west of the Bahamas with an unknown

amount of suspected migrants aboard. The Coast Guard Cutter Oak arrived

on scene and 20 Cuban migrants were transferred aboard, said the Coast

Guard. The 20 migrants were later transferred to the cutter Nantucket

and repatriated on Sept. 7.

Coast Guard 7th District command center watchstanders received

notification of a 15-foot boat that departed Cuba with 12 suspected

migrants on Sept. 3. Cutter Nantucket intercepted the vessel southwest

of Key West and took on 12 Cuban migrants, said the Coast Guard. The

cutter Nantucket repatriated nine of the 12 migrants on Sept. 7 and the

Pea Island repatriated the remaining three on Sept. 8, said the Coast Guard.

In another September incident, Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders

received notification of a disabled vessel south of Key West with an

unknown number of suspected migrants aboard. The cutter Oak arrived on

scene and embarked 21 Cuban migrants thast were transferred to the

cutter Pea Island and repatriated on Sept. 8.

The Coast Guard said all of the migrants got food, water, shelter and

basic medical attention once aboard the cutters.

Under current U.S. policy, Cubans caught in the waters between the U.S.

and Cuba have to be sent back to Cuba, however, Cuban migrants that make

it onto U.S. shores get a chance to remain in the country and set on a

path to possible citizenship. The rule has been called the "wet foot,

dry foot policy"

"The U.S. Coast Guard and its partners maintain a robust patrol presence

throughout the Caribbean Sea to deter illicit maritime activity," said

Capt. Brendan McPherson, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th

District. "Our main concern is always for the safety of these migrants

who are putting their lives at extreme risk in unseaworthy vessels and

to protect our nation's borders by deterring dangerous and illegal

activity."

http://www.gsnmagazine.com/article/27278/coast_guard_sends_dozens_back_cuba_early_september

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