US Coast Guard repatriates 16 migrants to the Dominican Republic

Published on February 15, 2017

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Coast Guard repatriated a group of 16 migrants on Monday to Dominican Republic Navy authorities in waters just off the Dominican Republic.

The repatriated migrants were part of a group of 22 (20 Dominicans, and two US citizens from Puerto Rico), who were interdicted Saturday by the Coast Guard in waters between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Four of the interdicted migrants are facing potential federal criminal immigration charges in Puerto Rico.

“The coordination and efficient response between the Coast Guard crews involved in this case allowed for the safe removal of 16 men and four women, including a woman who was four-months pregnant, from a grossly overloaded boat,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of enforcement. “The Coast Guard, together with our local and federal law enforcement partner agencies from the Caribbean Border Interagency Group, remains vigilant and committed to stopping these illegal voyages at-sea.”

The interdiction took place at approximately 3 am on Saturday, after a US Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a 20-foot migrant vessel transiting in the Mona Passage without the use of navigation lights. The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant interdicted the boat, provided lifejackets and embarked all passengers from the migrant vessel.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

US Coast Guard repatriates 16 migrants to the Dominican Republic ...