So far in 2011, the Puerto Rican authorities have detained 932 undocumented people trying to get into Puerto Rico. Not all were citizens of the Dominican Republic, but all had traveled from the Dominican Republic.
They were trying to reach the island of Puerto Rico in handmade open boats called “yolas,” as well as yachts and fast boats. In a 48-hour period last October, the Dominican authorities captured three small boats coming from La Romana on the south coast, Matancitas in Nagua and Cabrera on the north coast. Despite permanent patrols along the Dominican coasts and the breakup of 11 illegal trafficking rings, the clandestine “yola” trips keep leaving with Puerto Rico as their destination. On September 29, two Cubans and 17 Dominicans arrived at the coast of Aguada in Puerto Rico aboard a 22-foot open boat. Later, on October 18, agents from the Puerto Rico maritime Police, called the Fast Action Unified Force (FURA in Spanish), arrested 16 illegal Dominican immigrants who were found 21 kilometers from the coast. Fourteen were repatriated to the DR and seven were detained for criminal prosecution for illegal entry into Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico the use of biometric filing systems has led to the arrest and trial of many repeat offenders, as well as people wanted for crimes who were trying to sneak back into the island. “The information on all the people intercepted goes into the federal authorities data bank. The ones who don’t have a previous record or any other type of complication are repatriated. The immigrants with previous attempts to enter illegally are sent to trial in federal courts in Puerto Rico,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.