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.
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.