US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Archived Content

In an effort to keep current, the archive contains content from a previous administration or is otherwise outdated.

CBP reiterates warning on dangers of reaching Mona Island

Release Date: 
June 13, 2016

25 Cubans have been rescued along with a 2 year-old; Body of a male found  

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued today a concerned warning regarding the landing of undocumented migrants to Mona Island, after 2 groups of Cuban migrants have reached the remote isle.  

The warning was issued after a group of 11 Cuban migrants were removed from Mona Sunday by a United States Coast Guard helicopter. 

Migrants board a AMO Blackhawk in Mona Island
Migrants board an AMO Blackhawk in
Mona Island

Also the warning is issued after divers from the Puerto Rico Police FURA units recovered on Tuesday June 7, the body of a possible migrant from the Mona island coast , which was taken to the Puerto Rico Forensic Sciences Institute. 

“We consistently convey our concern of how human smugglers leave migrants in Mona knowing the dangers involved,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Ramey Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “It is part of our mission to prevent the loss of life and make migrants aware of how the danger that is inherent to reaching Mona Island,” 

On June 7, 15 Cuban undocumented migrants, among which there was a 2 year old girl, were rescued from Mona by a CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) helicopter.

During the FY 2016, the Ramey Border Patrol Sector has apprehended 225 Cuban migrants.

The Administration has no plans to change the current immigration policy toward Cuba or seek legislative changes in relation to the Cuban Adjustment Act.

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.

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 and without life vests. Every year CBP receives both confirmed and unconfirmed reports of aliens drowning while in transit to United States territory.

Eighty nautical miles separate the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico. At the approximate mid-point lies the island of Mona, an uninhabited island that is a United States territory. 

Migrant smugglers in the Dominican Republic strategically navigate to and use Mona Island as a drop off point for migrants who must then be recovered from Mona and transported to Puerto Rico by CBP or USCG air or marine assets.

Through various efforts CBP hopes to prevent the loss of human lives and to raise awareness of the real dangers and hazards all migrants and their families face in the hands of unscrupulous human smugglers.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021