Cuban migrants continue landing in Keys
Migrant trend continues with three landings within a week
Fear of policy change makes leaving Cuba more urgent
Sometimes there are several landings a day
BY DAVID GOODHUE
Three groups of migrants from Cuba have landed on Keys shores since last
The arrivals are part of a trend involving Cubans fleeing the communist
island nation fearing U.S. policy that allows most of them to stay could
On June 17, five men and one woman were found on land within Dry
Tortugas National Park in what U.S. Customs and Border Patrol describes
as a "maritime smuggling event." The group told Border Patrol agents
they left Havana in a "single-engine rustic vessel," but no boat was
found. The migrants were in good health.
On Tuesday, nine adult men landed on Smathers Beach in Key West around 3
p.m. in a single-engine fishing boat, said Marathon Border Patrol Agent
in Charge Jeffrey Stalnaker. The migrants said they sailed for four days
before reaching the Keys.
Also Tuesday, five men and three women made it to shore in Islamorada
around 7 a.m. They said they spent three days at sea in a single-engine
fishing boat, Stalnaker said.
Migration from Cuba by land and sea has markedly increased over the past
two years, coinciding with the thawing diplomatic relations between the
communist Castro regime and the Obama administration.
Current policy allows Cubans who step foot on U.S. soil to stay and
apply for permanent residency after a year. If caught at sea, the
migrants are taken back to Cuba. That's known as wet-foot, dry-foot and
has been U.S. policy since 1995.
But Cubans fear their instant refugee status could soon end as the two
governments become friendlier.
Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 2,264 Cubans
have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent
the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in
the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204
Source: Three groups of Cuban migrants landed on the Keys since last
Friday | Miami Herald -