At least 83 Cuban migrants have arrived in South Florida in the last three weeks, bringing to almost 400 the number of island migrant arrivals since Oct. 1.
The latest Cuban arrivals were four migrants spotted at Hallandale Beach early Tuesday. And late Sunday, eight other Cubans landed at Key Largo, according to Border Patrol spokesman Frank Miller. He added that 71 other Cuban migrants landed in the middle and lower Keys since May 29. Miller provided the following breakdown of arrivals by date:
▪ On May 29, 10 Cubans landed in the lower Keys.
▪ On June 3, 21 more Cubans landed at Dry Tortugas National Park, site of a 19th Century military fort west of Key West.
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▪ Three days later, 10 Cubans arrived at Marquesas Keys, also west of Key West, followed by 21 more Cubans landing at Dry Tortugas and eight others arriving at Marquesas, both on June 9.
▪ One Cuban traveling in a raft landed in Miami last Saturday.
Under the current dry-foot/wet-foot policy, Cuban migrants who arrive on U.S. soil — even if they don’t have visas — are allowed to stay. Those intercepted at sea are generally returned to Cuba.
Miller said that so far during fiscal year 2015, which began Oct. 1, 2014, 389 Cuban migrants have landed in South Florida.
At least 1,469 Cuban migrants have been interdicted at sea from Oct. 1 to May 1, according to Coast Guard figures posted on its website: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg531/AMIO/FlowStats/currentstats.asp
But Coast Guard officials said interdictions alone don’t tell the whole story of the Cuban migrant flow in the Florida Straits.
Coast Guard spokesman Gabe Somma said Cuban migrant flow figures provide a more accurate figure because it includes interdictions, landings and sightings of migrants believed to be headed to the U.S. Since Oct. 1, he said, the total number of Cuban migrants is 2,712 — compared to 3,677 in fiscal year 2014.
The vast majority of Cuban migrants now arrive via the Mexican border. Since Oct. 1, at least 13,161 Cuban migrants have entered the country through various border points.
Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter @AlfonsoChardy