Puerto Rico News: Seven Undocumented Immigrants Apprehended in Puerto Rico
A number of undocumented Dominican immigrants have been arrested in Puerto Rico.
The small group used a makeshift boat to navigate the Caribbean waters to the U.S. territory.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended seven Dominicans attempting to enter Puerto Rico illegally with a boat, according to a CBP press release. A local resident notified Puerto Rico Police about a boat approaching Bienvenidos beach in Aguadilla. Police contacted CBP reporting that a "yola," a powered makeshift raft, had been spotted with an unknown number of passengers in the area.
When CBP officials and police officers arrived at the scene they found a 20-foot yola powered by a 40 horsepower outboard motor. However, the passengers were not in sight. With the help of patrol aircraft, CBP and police found the seven immigrants in a nearby area.
The seven immigrants, identified only as six men and one woman, told officers they were from the Dominican Republic and were taken into custody for immigration processing.
CBP reports many immigrants attempting to enter Puerto Rico illegally use yolas, which are unsafe, underpowered, and usually overcrowded, to cross the 80-nautical mile gap between the two islands.
Over the last couple of decades immigration from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, has increased. Puerto Rico is considered another entry point into the U.S.
According to El Diario, in 2013 Roberto Citron, the island's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director, said between 150 and 180 Dominicans attempted to enter Puerto Rico illegally every weekend.
One of the lures is that one could illegally obtain a Puerto Rico birth certificate on the island and move into the U.S. With the document, an undocumented migrant can obtain driver's licenses and other papers to facilitate life in the mainland, reports the Miami Herald. However, the Puerto Rican government, in recent years, has started tackling document forgery.
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