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U.S. Coast Guard Repatriates 57 Migrants Back To Cuba

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Crew members aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo repatriated 57 Cuban migrants back to their home country Friday.

The migrant group is part of three separate interdictions in the south Florida waters. They were all found trying to illegally enter the United States in vessels not fit for a sea voyage, commonly known as "rustics" or "chugs." The Coast Guard helped not only secure the border, but may have also prevented the groups' treacherous trips from ending in tragedy.

Captain Mark Fedor, the chief of response for the Coast Guard's 7th District, said that smugglers are fueling migrants' desperation for freedom with lies about new changes in U.S. immigration policy.

"We recognize that smugglers are perpetuating rumors of changes to our immigration policy and some people may believe it. They may get desperate and take to the ocean in very unseaworthy vessels which creates a dangerous situation," said Fedor. "Everyone needs to understand the Coast Guard's missions have not changed, so if migrants are interdicted at sea, then they will be returned to their country of origin."

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water and basic medical attention.

So far this year, more than 4,400 Cuban migrants have tried to illegally cross into the U.S. through the Florida straits.

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