Ten men migrating from Cuba arrived in the Florida Keys Tuesday morning and will be sent back to their home country in the coming days, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
The group arrived on the shores of the Middle Keys city of Marathon in a rustic wooden boat around 8:30 a.m., Border Patrol spokesman Adam Hoffner said.
The men told Border Patrol agents that they left Villa Clara, Cuba, eight days ago, Hoffner said.
“This continues to be a dangerous journey across our Florida Straits,” Hoffner said in a statement. “Migrants exposed to the extreme tropical temperatures will quickly suffer from the effects of dehydration.”
The men will likely be sent back to Cuba.
Maritime migration from Cuba spiked this year after significantly waning in the years after then-President Barack Obama ended the decades-old “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy in early 2017. That allowed those who stepped foot on U.S. soil to stay in the country and apply for permanent residency after a year.
Those caught at sea were sent back to Cuba. Now, all Cubans attempting to enter the U.S. without a visa are returned.
However, because of worsening political, economic and health conditions within the island, many seem to be willing to risk both death by sailing across the Florida Straits and deportation if they’re caught upon arrival.
Last fiscal year, for example, the U.S. Coast Guard says only 49 people were caught at sea trying to migrate to South Florida from Cuba. This fiscal year, which runs from October to October, well over 830 have been interdicted and returned, the Coast Guard said.
When migrants from Cuba are caught on land, they are not necessarily taken back to their country on board a Coast Guard ship, as originally reported in this story.