23 Cubans Sent Home by US Coast Guard

HAVANA TIMES — Twenty-three Cubans trying to illegally leave their country were picked up by the US Coast Guard and returned to the island, reported AP.

The agency says the Cubans, popularly known as rafters, were traveling on two separate rustic vessels aimed at Florida and were picked up between July 19-22.

If they had reached land anywhere on US territory they would have received welcoming assistance and a fast track to permanent residency under the Cuban Adjustment Act and its amendments.

The Coast Guard told AP that since October, 1, 2012 they have picked up and repatriated a total of 782 Cubans.

The Cuban government says that those citizens returned by the US Coast Guard, under US-Cuba migration accords, are not punished for having tried to leave the country illegaly.