Surge in Cuban migrants fleeing to US shores

Since the US and Cuba announced their plan to restore diplomatic relations, there has been a surge in the number of Cuban migrants attempting to reach US shores illegally by rafts, according to coast guard officials. Rumors that the “wet foot-dry foot” policy is coming to a swift end has spurred hundreds of Cubans to flee their country out of fear and uncertainty. SEE ALSO: Key dates in US-Cuba relations  The wet foot-dry foot policy is an effect of the Cuban Adjustment Act, which has essentially opened the door for Cubans to enter the US and obtain legal residency and eventually citizenship. For the past five decades, hundreds of thousands of Cubans have embarked on both sea and land journeys from the island nation to the US knowing that once they arrived, they did not risk deportation. According to the Associated Press, authorities have encountered at least 421 Cubans making the raft journey since Dec. 17. These numbers are unusually high. In the entire month of Dec. 2013, authorities only intercepted 222 Cuban migrants making the same journey. In the weeks prior to the historic announcement about the détente between the two countries, only 132 Cuban migrants were prevented from reaching Florida’s shores. Cuban migrants now feel that they are racing the clock in order to reach the US before the wet foot-dry foot policy is nullified. US officials, however, claim that there will be no immediate change to the current policy. “There is no change to immigration law,” said Lieutenant Commander Gabe Somma, a spokesman for Miami coast guard. “This rumor is just putting people in harm’s way. The rumors are not true.” While Cuban migrants are granted legal residency once they make it to the US, those caught at sea are usually repatriated. SEE ALSO: US – Cuba trade hit a decade low in 2014 The ambiguity of the future for Cuban migrants has made for busy weeks for the coast guard. “At one point last week, we had about 120 Cuban migrants on coast guard cutter decks awaiting repatriation,” Somma said. The coast guard has increased its presence in the waters off Florida to address the surge in migrant traffic.The post Surge in Cuban migrants fleeing to US shores appeared first on Voxxi.
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A recent spike in Cubans attempting to reach the United States by sea has generated headlines. (AP Photo/United States Coast Guard)

Since the US and Cuba announced their plan to restore diplomatic relations, there has been a surge in the number of Cuban migrants attempting to reach US shores illegally by rafts, according to coast guard officials.

Rumors that the “wet foot-dry foot” policy is coming to a swift end has spurred hundreds of Cubans to flee their country out of fear and uncertainty.

SEE ALSO: Key dates in US-Cuba relations 

The wet foot-dry foot policy is an effect of the Cuban Adjustment Act, which has essentially opened the door for Cubans to enter the US and obtain legal residency and eventually citizenship. For the past five decades, hundreds of thousands of Cubans have embarked on both sea and land journeys from the island nation to the US knowing that once they arrived, they did not risk deportation.

According to the Associated Press, authorities have encountered at least 421 Cubans making the raft journey since Dec. 17.

These numbers are unusually high. In the entire month of Dec. 2013, authorities only intercepted 222 Cuban migrants making the same journey.

In the weeks prior to the historic announcement about the détente between the two countries, only 132 Cuban migrants were prevented from reaching Florida’s shores.

Cuban migrants now feel that they are racing the clock in order to reach the US before the wet foot-dry foot policy is nullified.

US officials, however, claim that there will be no immediate change to the current policy.

“There is no change to immigration law,” said Lieutenant Commander Gabe Somma, a spokesman for Miami coast guard. “This rumor is just putting people in harm’s way. The rumors are not true.”

While Cuban migrants are granted legal residency once they make it to the US, those caught at sea are usually repatriated.

SEE ALSO: US – Cuba trade hit a decade low in 2014

The ambiguity of the future for Cuban migrants has made for busy weeks for the coast guard.

“At one point last week, we had about 120 Cuban migrants on coast guard cutter decks awaiting repatriation,” Somma said.

The coast guard has increased its presence in the waters off Florida to address the surge in migrant traffic.

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The post Surge in Cuban migrants fleeing to US shores appeared first on Voxxi.