SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon crew repatriated 27 migrants to Dominican Republic, Monday, following the interdiction of a makeshift vessel in Mona Passage waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Most of the interdicted migrants claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals except for three Haitian nationals.
“Anyone considering taking part in an illegal migration event across the Mona Passage, we urge you do not take to the sea,” said Cmdr. Gerard Wenk, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response. “The risks and dangers associated with these voyages are not worth risking your life or the life of a loved one.”
Migrants interdicted at sea or apprehended ashore will not be allowed to stay in Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands. Anyone who arrives unlawfully will be repatriated to their country of origin and will be ineligible for legal immigration parole options.
During the interdiction, the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon crew stopped a 25-foot makeshift vessel that was initially detected by the aircrew of Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, Friday, approximately 30 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
The cutter Richard Dixon crew transported the migrants to waters just off Punta Juanillo, Dominican Republic, where the repatriation was completed. Dominican Republic Navy authorities received the repatriated migrants.
The Coast Guard, along with its Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners, maintains a continual presence with air, land, and sea assets in the Florida Straits, the Windward Passage, the Mona Passage and the Caribbean Sea. The HSTF-SE combined, multi-layered approach is designed to protect the safety of life at sea while preventing unlawful maritime entry to the United States and its territories.
Since October 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, the Coast Guard has carried out 54 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period, are 1,680 non-US citizens including 1,353 Dominicans, 245 Haitians, 15 Venezuelans, seven Kazakhs, one Albanian, two Colombians and one of undetermined nationality.
Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
US residents inquiring about family members potentially interdicted at sea by the Coast Guard, please contact the office of your local federal US representative or Senator. Relatives located outside the United States please contact family members who are US residents to follow the same process on your behalf.