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Undocumented Cuban migrants reach Mona Island on a rubber raft

Release Date: 
September 24, 2015

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued today a public warning upon the landing Wednesday of 5 undocumented immigrants from Cuba on board a rubber raft.  

Mona Island is a natural reserve with dangerous areas that make rescue difficult.

Mona Island is a natural reserve with dangerous areas that make rescue difficult.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan notified the Border Patrol Ramey Sector Communications Center the arrival of 5 undocumented migrants, 3 adult men, 1 adult female, and 1 juvenile female, all claiming to be Cuban nationals.  Park Rangers from the Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Resources reported that the group reached the northwester coast of Mona on board a rubber raft.

“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. ““Making this journey on a rubber raft is even more dangerous.”

The USCG transported the group to the Mayaguez Port of Entry last night where Border Patrol Agents from the Ramey Station who will take them into 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).

Every year the Ramey Border Patrol Sector receives both confirmed and unconfirmed reports of aliens drowning while in transit to the territory.

The Administration’s recent announcement regarding Cuba does not signify a change in the current immigration policy toward Cuba, under the 1995 amendment of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. 

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