Saturday, April 30, 2016

19 Cuban migrants make landfall in the Keys a day after 23 do in Key West

19 Cuban migrants make landfall in the Keys a day after 23 do in Key West
BY LARRY KAHN April 29, 2016 Updated 13 hours ago

With the calming seas this time of year come more migrants trying to
make it across the Florida Straits from Cuba.

Friday, 19 more arrived on Keys shores. Twelve men landed their homemade
sailboat at 4 a.m. at Harry Harris Park in Tavernier around mile marker
92.5 oceanside and seven others landed around 11 a.m. on an island off
Geiger Key in the Lower Keys. They followed a Thursday landing about 2
a.m. at Smathers Beach in Key West, where 21 Cuban men and two women alit.

"During the calm season and with the weather patterns" of the summer,
more migrant trips are expected, U.S. Border Patrol Supervisory Agent
Adam Hoffner said.

He said that with the U.S.' rapprochement to the Cuban government after
half a century of having no diplomatic ties, some Cubans fear that the
wet-foot, dry-foot policy that allows Cubans who make it to American
soil to stay will go away. That's driving many to try to make it the 90
miles across the sea.

Hoffner said it's a bad idea.

"Smuggling organizations oftentimes put these migrants in perilous
situations," he said.

Early Friday, the 12 who landed in Tavernier were being interviewed at
the Border Patrol's Marathon office. Hoffner said this wasn't
necessarily a case of smuggling.

"They made a long journey in that sailboat," he said. "They had been
traveling at sea for approximately five days on that rustic vessel.
They'll go through their processing, go before an immigration judge."

Jo Holcombe, 71, who lives across the street from Harry Harris Park, was
awakened by her dogs, who "kept barking." She said the migrants were
under a light pole in the park and her husband Will called 911.

Deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, firefighters and an
ambulance crew arrived and gave them water, Jo Holcombe said.

"They were still standing under the light pole when I went back to bed,"
she said.

They were in good health and had no medical emergencies, Hoffner said.
The ones who landed in Key West were at sea for three days.

Don Rhodes contributed to this report.

Source: 19 Cuban migrants make landfall in the Keys a day after 23 do in
Key West | News | KeysNet -

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