A United States Coast Guard (USCG) crew repatriated 20 migrants to San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, on Friday.

According to a news release from the USCG, the repatriation followed the interdiction of an overloaded makeshift vessel in the waters of the Mona Passage off the western coast of Puerto Rico.

The interdiction unfolded during a routine patrol on Thursday afternoon when the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine multirole enforcement aircraft detected a suspect vessel in Mona Passage waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan redirected to intercept the overloaded vessel.

On arriving at the scene, the cutter’s crew launched a small boat, embarking 17 men and three women who claimed to be Dominican Republic residents.

According to the USCG, migrants intercepted at sea or apprehended ashore will not be allowed to stay in the United States or a U.S. territory. They may be declared ineligible for legal immigration parole options and are subject to repatriation to their country of origin or returned to the country from where the voyage departed.

Since October 1, 2023, through November 30, 2023, the Coast Guard has conducted 14 unlawful irregular migration voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico, involving 475 non-U.S. citizens, including 461 Dominicans and 14 Haitians.

In the previous fiscal year, from October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023, the Coast Guard executed 67 unlawful irregular maritime migration voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. The interdictions involved 2,161 non-U.S. citizens, including 1,871 Dominicans, 264 Haitians, 15 Venezuelans, 7 Kazakhs, 1 Albanian, 2 Colombians, and 1 individual of unknown nationality.

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