HAVANA TIMES — Over the last few days, the US Coastguard Service repatriated nearly 130 Cuban rafters who were attempting to reach Florida’s coasts illegally, DPA reported.
The 85 repatriations carried out on Monday and Wednesday’s 43 are the result of the capture of several precarious vessels intercepted in the Strait of Florida.
The Coastguard Service again insisted that US migratory policy hasn’t changed, even though relations with Cuba were re-established after more than fifty years of ideological conflict.
“Our immigration policies remain the same, and we continue to strongly discourage those attempting to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea. There are legal ways to enter this country and this is not it,” said Mark Fedor in a communiqué.
According to the Coastguard Service, in the 2015 US fiscal year (which came to a close on September 30), 4,462 Cubans tried to reach the United States by sea. This figure includes those intercepted at sea and repatriated, those who reach land and those who died en route in the Strait of Florida, Caribbean Sea or Atlantic Ocean.
The data reflects an increase in comparison to the 3,722 Cubans who attempted to leave the country illegally the previous fiscal year, the Coastguard authorities reported.
Two years ago, the figure was 2,129, meaning the number continues to grow despite the island’s economic reforms and thaw with the United States.
By virtue of the “wet foot/dry foot policy”, the United States repatriates all Cubans intercepted at sea (the “wet-foots”).
Only those who reach US soil (the “dry foots”) are entitled to request residency, which is granted them a year and a day later under the Cuban Adjustment Act.
The rapprochement between the two countries has prompted rumors regarding the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment Act, which is highly beneficial to Cuban immigrants to the United States. Only the US Congress can modify the Act and, for the time being, it does not appear to be an issue of interest for most of the legislators.