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An extremely precarious boat made of scrap metal and rags in which ten Cubans were traveling made landfall Tuesday in the Florida Keys, in the southern tip of the state, and its occupants were detained, the Border Patrol reported.
Photographs taken by border authorities show the empty boat stranded at a spot on Marathon Beach in Monroe County.
Thomas G. Martin, chief of the Miami Sector Border Patrol, which guards more than 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) of Florida coastline, said in a tweet that the Cuban rafters were apprehended “early this morning” by Border Patrol agents and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office police.
The Cubans were taken into federal custody after making landfall, Martin said.
A boat with 40 migrants recently sank off the coast of Florida, of which only one, a Colombian national, survived.
Cubans and Haitians are the most numerous migrants intercepted at sea by authorities, and Coast Guard figures indicate a marked increase in interceptions of people of those nationalities in 2021 and so far in 2022.
Prior to 2016, Cubans had the benefit of being able to stay in the United States to begin the procedures for legal residency if they ever set foot on land, but if they were apprehended at sea they were returned to Cuba.
It was what was known as the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, but in January 2017, then President Barack Obama repealed this law as a favor to the Castro regime in the thawing era.