Twenty-three Cubans were rescued from a small island west of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Border Patrol said Tuesday.

The migrants arrived at Mona Island within a 24-hour span aboard two different wooden boats, the Border Patrol said in a statement.

The U.S.-controlled island, which measures only 40 sq. kilometers (about 15.5 sq. miles), lies in the Mona Channel between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

People fleeing Communist Cuba head for Mona Island to take advantage of Washington's "wet foot, dry foot" policy, under which Cubans who reach U.S. soil may remain and apply for permanent residence, while those intercepted at sea are generally repatriated.

Administratively part of Puerto Rico, Mona Island features a level of biodiversity that has earned it the nickname "Galapagos of the Caribbean."