Coast Guard intercepts over 300 migrants headed for US and ships them back home

More than 300 migrants nabbed on the high seas last week while trying to reach American soil have been shipped back to Haiti and the Bahamas, the US Coast Guard announced Monday.

The migrants were intercepted by Coast Guard cutters in separate incidents and sent home over the past week as part of Operation Vigilant Sentry in conjunction with Homeland Security officials, the agency said.

“The OVS maritime border security mission is often equal parts law enforcement and humanitarian response, especially as we enter hurricane season and marine weather becomes more severe and unpredictable,” Coast Guard enforcement officer Lt. Nick Fujimoto said in a statement.

Migrants cut off in the high seas.
The Coast Guard said 305 migrants intercepted trying to reach the US are now back in Haiti and the Bahamas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

“The Coast Guard urges any potential migrants considering the journey, don’t take to the sea and risk your life just to be sent back,” Fujimoto added.

The most recent repatriation stemmed from separate operations that seized US-bound migrants.

Officials said 196 migrants were intercepted on Wednesday and Thursday north of Haiti in packed boats and returned home to the island nation on Monday, according to a press release.

On Sunday, Coast Guard cutters Raymond Evans and Richard Etheridge turned over 109 migrants to the Royal Bahamas Defense Force after they were picked up near Anguilla Cay, officials said.

The Coast Guard routinely patrols the waters off the US coast to intercept groups of migrants trying to reach shore, with those captured typically fed and cared for until they can be repatriated.

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