Cubans pass by

| 13/08/2008

(CNS): Eleven Cuban migrants on a vessel passed through Cayman Islands waters Monday, 11 August, Immigration Department officials report. The migrants – four women and seven men – were spotted off East End, in Grand Cayman. They did not come ashore and officials monitored the group’s departure.

According to Cayman Islands policy, if Cuban migrants receive assistance from Cayman officials, even water, they will be repatriated to Cuba. Based on the latest figures from Immigration, the number of Cuban migrants repatriated last year was 92 while 12 have been repatriated so far this year. Some 104 were repatriated in 2006 while 122 were repatriated in 2005.

The vast majority of Cubans escaping the island now enter the US through Mexico after relatives pay thousands of dollars to organized crime networks that pick them up from Cuba’s westernmost tip in speedboats. According to official Mexican reports, more than 1,000 Cubans had been detained in Mexico by late June, compared with 1,359 in all of 2007.

Coast Guard interceptions of suspected traffickers are up this fiscal year by about 20%, with 323 encounters since Oct. 1, 2007.

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