Fifteen people were held in custody by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services following the capsizing of their boat off the Miami coast on October 17th. Four women were killed when the vessel, which was allegedly used for smuggling, capsized, and those who survived were put into detention while an investigation was mounted into the incident.
The 15 survivors were discovered clinging to wreckage early on the morning of October 17th by the US Coast Guard. The group was discovered close to the 25-foot boat, which had overturned around seven miles away from Miami. The survivors, who included the crew and Captain of the vehicle, were taken into custody and then charged with returning to the United States following deportation as well as smuggling.
Now four of the survivors, all undocumented immigrants from Haiti, have been released from custody and will have to be witnesses in the upcoming criminal investigation. After the accident took place, Haitian activists have been calling on ICE to release the survivors, or at least identify them, so that they can notify their families, but ICE spokesman Nestor Yglesias says that the information cannot yet be released.
The United States has been maintaining an immigration policy since the earthquakes in Haiti three years ago back in 2010, where residents of that country cannot be deported if they do not have criminal records, but Haitian immigrants have still been held in custody in spite of the federal order.