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13 Undocumented Cuban migrants reach Mona Island

Release Date: 
December 29, 2015

Warning issued on dangers of crossing the Mona Passage

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued today a public warning upon the landing in Mona Island Monday of 13 undocumented immigrants from Cuba.  

U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan notified the Border Patrol Ramey Sector Communications Center the landing in Mona of 13 undocumented migrants, 12 adult men, and 1 adult female, all claiming to be Cuban nationals.

 Migrants leave a US Coast Guard cutter into the custody of Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents in Mayaguez

Migrants leave a US Coast Guard cutter into the custody of Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents in Mayaguez

“Crossing the Mona Passage is a treacherous voyage filled with many dangers that pose a huge risk to migrants,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Ramey Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “We issue a concerned warning on the danger of traversing the Mona Passage with the hope of avoiding an unfortunate event during this holiday season.”

The USCG transported the group to the Mayaguez Port of Entry today where Border Patrol Agents from the Ramey Station assumed custody for screening and processing.

The illegal maritime smuggling ventures arriving to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic are ordinarily transported in rustic, homemade wooden vessels commonly referred to as "yolas." A typical yola is an unsafe vessel, generally underpowered with a single outboard motor, and overloaded with a large number of passengers (as an example, a forty foot “yola” can accommodate over one hundred persons).

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), while smuggling by sea accounts only for a small portion of overall migrant smuggling around the world, the particular dangers of irregular travel at sea make it a priority for response; due to the reported fact that more deaths occur by sea.

The Administration’s recent announcement regarding Cuba does not signify a change in the current immigration policy toward Cuba. 

After admissibility processing at the Border Patrol Station, Cuban nationals will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an Immigration Judge, for further proceedings under the Cuban Migration Agreement of 1995 and the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.

CBP maintains a robust posture regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws along the nation’s borders and coastal areas.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017