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The Coast Guard repatriated 32 Cuban immigrants, as a result of two interceptions in Caribbean waters, and arrested a suspected human trafficker, the institution said Thursday in a statement.
One of the interventions of the Coast Guard occurred last Sunday about 11 miles (17 km) south of Marathon, in the Florida Keys, and proceeded to the arrest of a suspected human trafficker.
The suspect was transferred to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for questioning, the Coast Guard added.
And last Monday the Coast Guard intercepted another vessel about 23 miles (37 km) south of Salt Cay in the Bahamas.
“Immigrants who enter the United States illegally using smugglers put their lives in the hands of criminalsn, HSI assistant special agent in charge, said in the statement.
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Gordon warned that “migrant smugglers (…) only seek to profit from the suffering” of these people.
Once aboard a Coast Guard vessel, the intercepted migrants received basic medical care, food and water. None of them were injured.
From October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 — fiscal year 2021 — the Coast Guard has intercepted more than 800 Cubans at sea, a significant escalation of arrests compared to the 49 intercepted in all of 2020.
According to figures provided by authorities, 313 Cuban immigrants were intercepted in fiscal year 2019 and in 2018 the number reached 259, while 1,468 and 5,396 Cubans were intercepted at sea in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
The door of entry of Cubans without legal permits was open until January 12, 2017, when then President Barack Obama withdrew their immigration benefits after canceling by executive order the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, as a favor to the Cuban regime.
Since then, Cubans who illegally enter the United States lack the temporary residence permit and, in case of requesting political asylum, they will have to apply for it under the same conditions as other immigrants.