Sunbathers on a popular Florida Keys beach watched Monday morning as a wooden boat coasted to the sand and about 20 Cuban migrants jumped into the shallow water — running to what they hope is a new life in the United States.
Their arrival on Sombrero Beach, in the Middle Keys city of Marathon, capped a three-day period that saw close to 90 people from Cuba make landfall throughout the Florida Keys in several separate migrant events, according to Border Patrol officials.
Monday’s landing was captured on cellphone video by Marathon resident Yandy Carrillo, who posted the footage to his Facebook page.
In the footage, Yandy, a landscaper and owner of Yandy’s Lawn Maintenance, can be heard shouting words of support in Spanish.
“I was passing by the beach from doing a job and saw the Coast Guard and a boat that was full of people, and right away, I parked and recorded them as the Coast Guard pulls away from them to make a landing,” Carrillo told the Miami Herald/FLKeysnews.com.
“I gave them water and called their families to tell them they were okay,” he added.
U.S. Border Patrol officials could not immediately be reached for comment regarding the status of the migrants.
The Keys and the rest of South Florida are experiencing the largest increase in the arrival of Cuban migrants in almost a decade. A policy that allowed Cubans who stepped foot on U.S. soil to stay in the country and apply for permanent residency ended in early 2017, meaning all of those stopped on land or on the ocean are supposed to be sent back to their homeland.
However, given the massive size of the latest exodus, most of those who’ve made landfall in the past year have been released to family and/or friends with orders to report to immigration officials. Technically, they are being processed for removal, but sources say it could take years before someone is actually placed on a plane and sent back to Cuba.
The Cuban government has also not accepted deportation flights from the U.S. since 2020.
TY T Newsroom