On Wednesday evening U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers took custody of 35 Cuban migrants that allegedly landed in Coakley Bay, in the northern coast of St. Croix, according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection.
V.I. Police notified CBP officers at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport who went to Coakley Bay and found a group of 13 females, 21 males and one minor, all in good health, according to the statement.
The group was transported to the airport for immigration processing of the group under the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy, a 1994 amendment of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
“Migrant smuggling ventures at sea place many vulnerable people in harm’s way and, fortunately, these folks were lucky,” said Marcelino Borges, director of field operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the CBP statement.
“Our goal remains to arrest and obtain a conviction against smugglers who violate our laws," Borges said
Last Friday two Haitian migrants died attempting to reach the island of Mona between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, according to CBP.
While smuggling by sea accounts only for a small portion of overall migrant smuggling around the world, the particular dangers of irregular travel at sea make it a priority for response, due to the reported fact that more deaths occur by sea, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
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. Customs and Border Protection is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.