The U.S. Coast Guard sent 190 people back to Haiti and Cuba on Thursday after stopping them off a Haitian island and the Florida Keys — as an increasing wave of migrants continue to flee deteriorating economic, safety and political conditions, according to the latest figures from the agency.
The Coast Guard also reported the deaths of two migrants whose bodies were found at sea this week. Since Oct. 1, the agency has recorded 39 confirmed deaths from people migrating on boats, Coast Guard District Seven Capt. Benjamin Golightly said in a news release.
The most recent at-sea detention happened Wednesday when crews spotted “a grossly overloaded and unsafe” sailboat carrying 101 Haitians about 20 miles northwest of Ile de la Tortue, Haiti.
The Coast Guard tallies the number of migrants detained at sea by fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30 of the following year. Since Oct. 1 of last year, Coast Guard crews have stopped 6,009 Haitians compared to:
- 1,527 Haitian migrants in Fiscal Year 2021
- 418 Haitian migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
- 932 Haitian migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
- 609 Haitian migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
- 419 Haitian migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
The Coast Guard also detected 89 Cubans in several boats and found two bodies from Sunday to Wednesday, the agency said.
READ MORE: U.S. Coast Guard returns 45 migrants to Cuba after they were stopped off the Florida Keys
At 7 a.m. Sunday, a civilian alerted the Coast Guard about people in the water about 1 mile south of Fort Zachary Taylor Beach in Key West. At night, a Coast Guard aircrew detected two “rustic” vessels within the span of 15 minutes — one 76 miles southwest of Marquesas Key and the other one 17 miles off Key West.
On Monday, a Coast Guard crew found at 6 a.m. a partially submerged boat 9 miles south of Boot Key. At 6:30 p.m., they spotted a “rustic vessel” 68 miles south of Key West — where one person died.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, a civilian alerted the Coast Guard about people in the water 60 miles south of Boca Chica. At 5:15 p.m., a U.S. Customs and Border Protection crew notified the Coast Guard of yet another “rustic vessel” 11 miles off Marquesas Key.
READ MORE: Lost contact with migrant relatives sailing to Florida? Here’s how to get their status
Another grim discovery was made Wednesday when crews found the body of Carlos Alberto Rosell Ojeda off Fort Zachary Taylor Beach in Key West.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention, according to the agency.
READ MORE: U.S. Coast Guard finds body of missing man last seen in the water off the Florida Keys
Since Oct. 1 of last year, Coast Guard crews have stopped 2,691 Cubans compared to:
- 838 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2021
- 49 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
- 313 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
- 259 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
- 1,468 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
- 5,396 Cuban migrants in Fiscal Year 2016
READ MORE: Bigger than Mariel: 140,000 Cubans have arrived at U.S. borders since October
The number of Cubans fleeing poverty and oppression on the island surpassed the Mariel exodus of 1980, as U.S. government data revealed earlier this week that more than 140,000 Cubans were detained at U.S. borders between October last year and May.
“The Coast Guard and our partners will continue to vigilantly patrol, detect, intercept and deter unsafe voyages,” said Lt. Matthew Miller of Coast Guard District Seven.
This story was originally published June 23, 2022 9:32 PM.
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