Seven Cubans, between the ages of 24 and 40, were found in a seaside park in Coral Gables (Miami-Dade) and police are now investigating whether they were brought into the country by human traffickers, local media reported Tuesday.
The Cubans said they were from Havana and had sailed for seven days in a self-built boat before arriving at Matheson Hammock Park, located in one of the most exclusive residential areas of Miami-Dade County.
Police gave them blankets, hot drinks and food before Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents took charge of them.
If the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” law had not been repealed during Barack Obama’s presidency (2009-2017), the Cubans would have automatically obtained the right to start proceedings to stay in the country, since they were discovered on the ground.
An immigration lawyer told NBC 6 that the seven Cubans can apply for political asylum.
In the last two months, 293 Cubans were intercepted at sea by the Coast Guard. The monthly average of interceptions is now double that of the previous year.
In the entire fiscal year that ended last September 30, 838 Cubans were intercepted, according to the Coast Guard.