Florida Keys

Coast Guard intercepts 10 Cuban migrants off the Florida Keys

The Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo receives 10 Cuban migrants on Monday, April 1, 2019, interdicted after attempting to illegally enter the United States, according to an agency press release.
The Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo receives 10 Cuban migrants on Monday, April 1, 2019, interdicted after attempting to illegally enter the United States, according to an agency press release.

The United States Coast Guard stopped 10 Cuban men at sea trying to enter the country about 20 miles south of Lower Matecumbe Key earlier this week.

A boater called Coast Guard Sector Key West Monday to report a “suspicious vessel” with 10 people on board, according to a Coast Guard press release issued Friday. A 45-foot patrol boat from Station Islamorada intercepted the craft and took the men on board.

An MH-65 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Miami also responded to the boat’s location.

The men were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo, based in Key West, which took them back to Cuba.

In this archive video, Rodney and Sheila Barreto found eight Cuban men on a raft made of Styrofoam and wood pallets while the couple was fishing 20 miles offshore of Miami on Sunday.

Even under the old “wet foot, dry foot” U.S. immigration policy toward Cuba, the men would be sent back home. The policy mandated that any Cuban national caught at sea would be returned. Those who made land could stay and apply for permanent residency after a year.

The Obama administration, in one of its last major foreign policy moves, ended the policy as it reestablished diplomatic relations with the Cuba.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.


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