Florida Keys

25 Cuban migrants land in the Keys

Monroe Deputy Joe Riggs escorts migrants in a sheriff’s office boat on Monday morning.
Monroe Deputy Joe Riggs escorts migrants in a sheriff’s office boat on Monday morning.

More than 20 migrants from Cuba came ashore in the Lower Keys Monday morning.

The group of 24 men and one woman was spotted by a passing boater on Cook Island, off Big Pine Key, around 6:30 a.m., said Deputy Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office helped ferry the migrants to the Dolphin Marina on Little Torch Key, where they were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents. They were in good condition, Herrin said.

On Saturday, 26 migrants, seven of them with gunshot wounds, were found on a raft off Key West.

Also, in separate incidents last week, 58 Cuban migrants intercepted at sea on several vessels were repatriated.

According to Coast Guard figures, so far this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2,562 Cubans have been intercepted, sighted or have landed in Florida.

In fiscal year 2015, about 4,476 Cuban migrants were intercepted, spotted or arrived by sea, the largest number in more than seven years.

According to the Coast Guard, uncertainty about a possible change in U.S. immigration policy with Cuba has led to a larger number of Cuban immigrantssince President Barack Obama in December 2014 ordered the restoration of relations with the island.

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