Coast Guard intercepting more Haitians

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 30, 2007 at 10:45 p.m.

MIAMI - Nearly as many Haitian migrants were intercepted in April on their way to U.S. shores as in all of 2006, the Coast Guard said Monday.

A total of 704 Haitians were rescued from vessels in April, according to the Coast Guard count. That compares with just 43 in April 2006 and 769 in all of last year.

The increase was not being attributed to one single cause, but the Coast Guard said it continually watches for Haitian migrants.

"We're seeing those boats come over with extremely large amounts of people,'' said Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

While the number of migrants was higher, it is a far cry from the early 1990s, when tens of thousands of Haitians fled to the U.S. About 31,430 came in 1992 alone, the Coast Guard said.

Since 2004, when 3,078 Haitians were intercepted, the number has been falling.

More than 360 of the migrants brought aboard Coast Guard cutters on Friday and Saturday were brought back to Haiti on Monday.

Johnson said the boats they were traveling on were in bad condition.

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