Coast Guard repatriates Haitian migrants
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- A U.S. Coast Guard cutter returned more than 450
Haitian migrants to Port-au-Prince Saturday after they were intercepted
at sea on two dangerously overcrowded boats earlier this week, the
Coast Guard said.
A Coast Guard helicopter spotted 146 migrants on a boat off the Bahamas
Wednesday, and on Thursday, a 40-foot vessel carrying 319 migrants was also
spotted off the Bahamas. The migrants were taken onto Coast Guard cutters.
The Coast Guard determined the migrants' boats were a "hazard to navigation"
"Too many times in the past we have seen vessels sailing in severely overloaded
conditions like these result in unnecessary deaths," said Coast Guard spokesman
Lt. Tony Russell.
One migrant was taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and turned over to immigration
officials for further questioning.
It is standard U.S. policy to repatriate migrants picked up at sea, after
interviews by immigration officials.
Thousands of Haitians each year risk dangerous voyages aboard rickety,
boats in search of economic opportunities in the United States. Haiti is the
hemisphere's poorest country. Two-thirds of its population is unemployed or
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.