Human TraffickingNews

US Border Patrol Rescue 10 Haitian Migrants Stranded in Desolate Island off Puerto Rico’s West Coast

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and Border Patrol agents teamed up Tuesday to rescue a group of 10 undocumented migrants from Haiti left stranded by smugglers in Desecheo island. 

“Smugglers have no respect for the security and well-being of the migrants they transport,” indicated Augusto Reyes, Director of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “Our agents will continue to use our advanced aeronautical capabilities to procure the safety and security of people in distress throughout our coastal borders.”

On Mar.6, a concerned citizen contacted the Ramey Sector indicating that a group of migrants were abandoned in Desecheo island, a desolate island 13 mi (21 km) from Rincón on the west coast of Puerto Rico.

With a rough sea state in the Mona Passage, impeding a safe removal on a boat, an AMO Black hawk was diverted from another mission to remove the migrants from the island.

Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents departed with the AMO crew and reached the migrants on the side of the island where they were abandoned. The agents guided the migrants through the rough terrain and elevation to another side of the island where the Black hawk was able to land. 

The 10 migrants, six males and four females, were in good health and were transported to the Ramey Border Patrol station for processing under US immigration law.

During World War II, and until 1952, Desecheo was used as a bombing range by the United States Armed Forces. From 1952 to 1964 the United States Air Force used Desecheo for survival training. In 1976 administration of the island was given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in 1983 it was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge.