Cuban migrants make Florida Keys landing in a small boat, but they’re likely not staying

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A group of migrants from Cuba arrived in the Florida Keys early Monday morning. They landed in Grassy Key, which is just north of the Middle Keys city of Marathon, after arriving off shore in small boat, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The four men and two women are in federal custody, Border Patrol Agent Adam Hoffner said. They will likely be sent back to Cuba.

Until early 2017, people from Cuba who set foot on U.S. soil would be allowed to stay in the country and apply for permanent residency after a year. Those caught at sea were taken back to Cuba.

A boat floats off shore of Grassy Key in the Florida Keys Monday morning, Nov. 30, 2020. Six people from Cuba arrived in the Keys on the vessel.
A boat floats off shore of Grassy Key in the Florida Keys Monday morning, Nov. 30, 2020. Six people from Cuba arrived in the Keys on the vessel.

However, the Obama administration ended that protocol, dubbed “wet-foot, dry-foot,” because it had reestablished diplomatic ties with the Castro regime. It was one of the administration’s final foreign policy decisions. Cubans are now subject to the same immigration and visa rules as people from other nations.

Maritime migration from the island country 90 miles south of Key West had surged in the months prior to the policy shift because Cubans anticipated the change. But after the decision was announced, landings, as well as at-sea migrant interdictions by the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, slowed significantly.

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