AGUADILLA, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol and Caribbean Border Interagency Group authorities apprehended 58 undocumented immigrants, 57 Haitians and 1 Cuban, who were spotted Tuesday morning by the Coast Guard in the island of Desecheo, located just off the western coast of Puerto Rico.
"Leaving migrants in the island of Desecheo demonstrates how smuggling organizations have complete disregard for the safety of the persons on board these makeshift vessels," said Ramiro Cerrillo, chief patrol agent for the CBP Ramey Sector. "We reiterate our message that potential migrants not be fooled by false promises made by these criminals."
At approximately 9 a.m. Tuesday, Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan alerted CBP Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents that the crew of a patrolling Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen had detected a group of suspected migrants in Desecheo. Border Patrol agents boarded a Puerto Rico Police maritime unit and reached Desecheo to confirm the landing and provide immediate emergency medical assistance.
In Desecheo, Border Patrol agents confirmed the presence of 58 undocumented migrants, 57 Haitians and 1 Cuban, including 14 females. Border Patrol agents administered first aid to a number of migrants who had symptoms of dehydration.
In the afternoon, the Coast Guard Cutter Cushing transported the group of migrants to the Mayaguez Port of Entry for further transfer to Aguadilla for immigration processing by Border Patrol.
On August 2, members of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) also intervened with a group of 84 Haitians in Desecheo Island.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.