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The Coast Guard repatriated on Monday 46 Cuban immigrants who were intercepted in the Straits of Florida in four operations, near the Florida Keys, including several who were rescued from a boat that capsized last week.
The institution specified that the 46 immigrants are part of four different groups intercepted at sea, and that all were returned today to the island on the ship Kathleen Moore.
However, it did not detail the exact dates of the operations, nor how many were arrested in each of them.
Last Thursday, the Coast Guard rescued eight Cuban immigrants alive, as well as two corpses, after the boat in which they had departed last Sunday from the Port of Mariel (Cuba) capsized on Wednesday night, along with 10 other people.
The boat sank about 10 kilometers (16 miles) south of Cayo Hueso, an islet near Cuba.
Since last Thursday, the Coast Guard conducted search operations for the ten Cubans, which were suspended over the weekend without positive results.
Despite tragedies such as last week’s, the flow of Cubans has increased in recent weeks.
The Border Patrol reported this Sunday the arrest of 18 Cuban immigrants who had arrived the previous day in a rustic boat in the Florida Keys.
Since October 1, 2020, the Coast Guard has intercepted 323 Cubans at sea compared to 49 intercepted in the entire fiscal year 2020, the Coast Guard detailed today.
“The Florida Straits can be very dangerous,” Capt. Adam Chamie, Coast Guard Sector Key West commandant, said on Monday in a statement.
“The weather can change quickly. Even if the water is warm, the sea can be unforgiving, particularly in unseaworthy rafts,” he added.
According to figures provided by authorities, in fiscal year 2019 there were 313 immigrants intercepted and in 2018 the number reached 259, while in 2017 and 2016 1,468 and 5,396 Cuban immigrants were intercepted at sea, respectively.
The door of entry of Cubans without legal permits to the United States was open until January 12, 2017, when then President Barack Obama withdrew that immigration benefit from them as a favor toward Cuba’s communist regime.
Since then, Cubans who illegally enter the United States lack the temporary residence permit and, in case of requesting political asylum, they will have to apply for it under the same conditions as other immigrants.