U.S. Coast Guard sends back to Haiti nearly 200 illegal immigrants

Gerard Maxineau/For the Miami Herald

Nearly 200 migrants were returned to Haiti on Tuesday after being picked up near the Caribbean nation’s coastline, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

YN.-The repatriation is one of the latest interventions U.S. border authorities in South Florida have carried out as thousands of Haitians and Cubans take to the sea to escape their home countries in turmoil.

On Saturday, the Coast Guard announced on Twitter that two cutters had rescued the large group of Haitians on an overloaded boat in a flurry of bad weather. The group, which included 126 men, 45 women and 17 children, was found about 20 miles from Cap Du Môle, on Haiti’s northern coast.

Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson, from the Coast Guard office in Miami that patrols Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, emphasized that the illegal voyages were “always dangerous” and “often deadly.”

“We have increased our air and sea patrols across the region in close coordination with our interagency and international partners,” he said in a statement.

Since Oct. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted 2,284 Haitian migrants, an increase of almost 50 percent compared to the entire 2021 fiscal year, which runs from October through September. In that same period, it has interdicted 1,053 Cuban migrants, up from the 838 in fiscal 2021.