Early Monday, September 13, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers apprehended 19 aliens, 16 of whom were Cuban nationals picked up in Cruz Bay. CBP also apprehended three female Brazilian nationals at the Red Hook ferry terminal on St. Thomas a few hours later. Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents arrested the 16 Cuban aliens in the Cruz Bay area of St. John after receiving information of an alleged disembarkation.
Upon arrival from St. Thomas, Border Patrol Agents interviewed a suspected group and confirmed their nationality and immigration status. The group is composed of 11 males, three females and two juveniles, who are in good physical condition. CBP Air Operations aircraft transported the migrant group to the Ramey Border Patrol Station in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, for further immigration processing.
Later in the morning, CBP Field Officers arrested three female, undocumented, Brazilian nationals during an inspection at the Red Hook Ferry Terminal on St. Thomas. Initial immigration status verification revealed that Maria Campos, 59, had a prior record when in 2006 federal authorities at the Miami International Airport removed her.
The females were being transported, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention and Removal Operations, to the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, for transfer to Aguadilla for further processing.
After processing at the Border Patrol Station, the 13 Cuban adults will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an Immigration Judge for further proceedings under the Cuban Migration Agreement of 1995 and the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
This case demonstrates the joint working effort by federal and territorial agencies on the island under the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), to secure operational control against illegal aliens who attempt to penetrate U.S. borders.
The wet foot, dry foot policy is the name given to a consequence of the 1995 revision of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 that says, essentially, that anyone who fled Cuba and got into the United States would be allowed to pursue residency a year later.
After talks with the Cuban government, the Clinton administration came to an agreement with Cuba that it would stop admitting people found at sea. Since then, in what has become known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, a Cuban caught on the waters between the two nations (i.e., with “wet feet”) would be sent to the place of embarkation. One who makes it to shore (“dry feet”) gets a chance to remain in the United States, and later would qualify for expedited “legal permanent resident” status and U.S. citizenship.
CBIG is a joint venture between the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Office of Air and Marine Operations, Office of Field Operations, and Office of Border Patrol), the U.S. Coast Guard, ICE, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action. CBIG has a common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of the nation’s Caribbean border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of the nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.