Friday, February 24, 2012

15 Cuban migrants rescued near Puerto Rico; 1 dead

Posted on Friday, 02.24.12

15 Cuban migrants rescued near Puerto Rico; 1 dead
The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Fifteen Cuban migrants were rescued and one
died after the group tried to swim to two tiny islands just west of
Puerto Rico, U.S. authorities said Friday.

The migrants jumped into the water on Thursday as federal agents and
Dominican Navy officers approached a makeshift boat that had departed
from the Dominican Republic, according to a statement from U.S. Customs
and Border Protection.

Three of the migrants were hospitalized, authorities said.

Agents arrested two men from the Dominican Republic suspected of
smuggling the group to Mona and Monito islands, officials said. The U.S.
Attorney's Office in Puerto Rico is seeking extradition of the two
suspects being held by Dominican officials, according to the U.S. Coast

The rescue comes just weeks after 41 Dominican migrants died when their
boat capsized in the dangerous Mona Passage hours after departing from
the Dominican Republic en route to the U.S. Caribbean territory.

Cubans are generally allowed to apply for legal residence if they reach
U.S. soil under the country's wet foot/dry foot policy.

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