By David J. Neal
March 14, 2018 05:20 PM
A total of 201 Haitians were returned to Haiti Wednesday by the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency said, after two overloaded boats were intercepted near the Bahamas.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter spotted a 50-foot freighter Sunday 30 miles east of Great Inagua Island. The 86 migrants from that freighter were picked up by the Coast Guard cutter Tahoma. The next day, the Tahoma gathered 115 migrants from a 50-foot sail freighter three miles east of Sunday’s pickup.
Migrants get food, water and medical attention when picked off by Coast Guard cutters.
“The waters of the Caribbean and Florida Straits are dangerous and unforgiving for migrants on illegal voyages, in overloaded vessels with little or no safety gear, needlessly placing lives at risk,” said Rear Adm. Peter Brown, commander of Coast Guard 7th District. “The Coast Guard and its partner agencies continue to maintain a strong presence along our maritime border and will continue to interdict and rescue those who embark on these illegal and ill-advised voyages in these unsafe vessels.”
The Coast Guard says about 1,040 Haitian migrants have tried to illegally enter the United States by sea since Oct. 1. In the fiscal year, 1,869 Haitian migrants tried to do so.
David J. Neal: @DavidJNeal