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Coast Guard Repatriates 59 Cubans Intercepted in Florida Keys

Guardia Costera repatría a 59 cubanos interceptados en Cayos de Florida

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The Coast Guard repatriated on Monday and Tuesday 59 Cuban immigrants as a result of four interceptions in the Florida Keys.

One Coast Guard intervention that led to the custody of 29 Cubans, the most numerous, occurred last June 10, when the agents rescued a precarious boat “in poor condition” 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Havana (Cuba).

One person was taken ashore for medical attention and the remaining 28 were repatriated Monday in good health, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Another precarious boat with 16 people on board was spotted a day earlier, on June 9, in Long Key by a “good Samaritan” who immediately contacted the Coast Guard. The entire group was transferred to a scamp and repatriated to Cuba between yesterday and today.

On the same day, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) aircraft informed Coast Guard cutters at Naval Station Islamorada that a vessel in poor condition with four people on board was heading northbound off Key Largo.

The boat was intercepted and the Cuban immigrants repatriated on Monday.

Last Saturday, authorities intercepted another rustic boat with 11 Cuban immigrants on board, 10 miles (16 kilometers) off Elliot Key, near Miami Beach. All of them were repatriated today.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and partner agencies actively patrol the Florida Straits,” so “we strongly discourage attempts to illegally enter the United States by sea,” said Mario Gil, liaison to the Coast Guard at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

So far in the current fiscal year 2021, that is since October 1, 2020, the Coast Guard has interdicted 465 Cubans at sea, a significant escalation of arrests compared to the 49 intercepted in the entire fiscal year 2020.

According to figures provided by the authorities, in fiscal year 2019 there were 313 Cuban immigrants intercepted and in 2018 the number reached 259, while in 2017 and 2016 1,468 and 5,396 Cubans were intercepted at sea, respectively.

The door of entry of Cubans without legal permits to the United States was open until January 12, 2017, when then President Barack Obama withdrew their immigration benefits by canceling by executive order the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, as a favor to the Castro regime in Havana.

Since then, Cubans who illegally enter the United States do not have a temporary residence permit and, in case of requesting political asylum, they will have to apply for it under the same conditions as other immigrants.

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