Coast Guard sends back 36 Cuban nationals intercepted near Florida Keys

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The Coast Guard sent a group of Cuban migrants intercepted off the coast of the Florida Keys back to their country Tuesday.

The group included three dozen Cuban nationals who were discovered headed for the U.S. last week.

Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew initially discovered a migrant group on Friday and alerted nearby units, the Coast Guard said, according to a news release.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of this rustic vessel about 60 miles south of Key West, Florida, June 17, 2022. The people were repatriated to Cuba on June 21, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Miami)

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of this rustic vessel about 60 miles south of Key West, Florida, June 17, 2022. The people were repatriated to Cuba on June 21, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Miami) (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Miami)

The crew of Cutter Issac Mayo then responded to the alert and found the migrants, per the statement.

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“Our crews work tirelessly to ensure the South Florida Straits remain safe,” said Lt. Paul Benyovszky, Coast Guard Sector Key West deputy enforcement chief.

“These migration attempts are inherently dangerous and these men, women, and children are taking a great risk attempting to navigate unpredictable seas in unsafe, overloaded, rustic vessels,” the chief added.

The migrants were taken aboard the Coast Guard cutter and were provided food, water, shelter and basic medical attention before they were sent back to their own country, per the release.

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According to the Coast Guard, the number of Cubans interdicted by their crews is the highest it has been in over five years.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of this rustic vessel about 43 miles south of Key West, Florida, June 17, 2022. The people were repatriated to Cuna on June 21, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Miami)

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West watchstanders of this rustic vessel about 43 miles south of Key West, Florida, June 17, 2022. The people were repatriated to Cuna on June 21, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Miami) (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Miam)

“Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews interdicted 2,464 Cubans,” the U.S. Armed Services maritime branch said.

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A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew alerted Sector Key West watchstanders of a rustic vessel about 30 miles southwest of Marquesas Key, Florida, June 8, 2022. The people were repatriated to Cuba on June 11, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station Key West's crew)

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew alerted Sector Key West watchstanders of a rustic vessel about 30 miles southwest of Marquesas Key, Florida, June 8, 2022. The people were repatriated to Cuba on June 11, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station Key West’s crew) (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station Key West’s crew)

This figure is an uptick from 838 Cuban migrants interdicted in Fiscal Year 2021, the first year of the Biden administration.

For context, just 49 Cuban migrants were interdicted in 2020, under President Donald Trump.

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