Another three Cuban migrants arrived on the shores of the Florida Keys on Tuesday morning — the latest in a wave of arrivals that has brought more than 100 Cubans with dry feet to South Florida in the last week alone.
Todd Bryant, U.S. Border Patrol Miami Division Chief, said three Cuban men arrived on Sugarloaf Key at about 6 a.m Tuesday. Their arrival marks the eighth landing by Cuban nationals in the Keys since July 12.
On Monday, 51 Cubans arrived in three separate vessels.
At 1:18 a.m., a group of nine Cubans arrived near Key Largo. The group was at sea for six days after departing from Punta Alegre in north central Cuba. At about 10 a.m., another three Cubans arrived in the Middle Keys community of Key Colony Beach after traveling for two days from Villa Clara, just west of Punta Alegre. Both groups traveled in a “single-engine rustic vessel” and arrived in good health, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
On Monday night at about 9, 39 Cubans made a three-day journey from Santa Clara, also in north central Cuba, and touched land near Sugarloaf Boulevard on Summerland Key in two “go-fast” type vessels, Bryant said. Four in the group were taken to the hospital and the other 35 — 30 men and five women — were all healthy.
106 percent Increase in Cuban migrant arrivals by boat to South Florida over this time last year
On Sunday, another group of 13 Cuban men traveled from Ciego de Ávila in the southern central part of the island on a single-engine rustic vessel for four days before arriving in Marathon.
The surge over the weekend, although slightly elevated, is in line with the usual summer uptick in arrivals due to better weather conditions for crossing the Florida Straits, said Becky Herrin, a spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier in the week, six Cubans from Havana arrived on a small fishing vessel in Key West and another 13, also from Havana, landed in Dry Tortugas National Park, west of Key West. Both groups arrived on Wednesday. On July 12, a 24-person group made it near Sand Key in Biscayne National Park on a “go-fast” vessel.
The number of Cuban migrants arriving in South Florida by boat has surged since late 2014 when President Barack Obama announced the U.S. was reestablishing ties with the island nation. This month, South Florida has seen a 106 percent increase in successful boat migrations over the same time last year, Bryant said.
Cubans who make it to dry land are allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for residency a year and a day after their arrival date as per the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy of the Cuban Adjustment Act. All Cubans who are intercepted at sea are sent back to the island.
Following the thawing of relations, Cubans have left the island in record numbers fearing a change to the U.S. policy that affords Cubans special immigration benefits not extended to immigrants from other countries.