Twenty Cuban migrants, including four children, arrived at the Marquesas Keys in a single-engine fishing vessel.
They were in good health and taken by the U.S. Coast Guard to Key West, which is about 20 miles east of the Marquesas. The Coast Guard turned them over Monday to the U.S. Border Patrol, said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Adam Hoffner.
Since the migrants made it to shore, they will likely be able to stay in the United States and apply for permanent residency after a year. The so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy is part of changes made in 1995 to the Cuban Adjustment Act. Those caught at sea are usually sent back to Cuba.
The number of Cubans fleeing the communist island nation is surging because many fear wet-foot, dry-foot — which essentially grants all Cubans refugee status — could soon end because of thawing ties between the Castro regime and the U.S. federal government.
Monday’s landing in the Marquesas comes as Coast Guard crews conducted a search for up to 20 migrants thought to have gone into the sea after their makeshift vessel capsized over the weekend. Three survivors were found near Big Pine Key. Five bodies have been recovered off the Keys since Saturday who the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office believes are likely migrants from the capsized craft.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204 @DavidGoodhue