MIAMI (AP) — U.S. immigration officials say 187 Cuban migrants have been arrested after landing in the Florida Keys on 10 separate boats over the weekend.
Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted images of the small boats without passengers on Twitter.
The Miami Herald said a large group was seen early Sunday through a livestream at the Southernmost Point buoy in Key West. Dozens of men, women and children were captured in the images.
Between last October and June, Customs and Border Protection officials have found and detained more than 1,300 Cubans arriving in Florida, when that number was hovering around 200 and 300 for the same time frame the last two years.
The U.S. Coast Guard says it has stopped nearly 4,000 Cubans at sea since last October. For the past few years since the end of “wet foot, dry foot” in early 2017, the agency had seen a drop in Cubans stopped at sea. The policy allowed most Cubans who made it to U.S. soil to stay.
The number of Cubans migrating in boats is still a small fraction of the larger wave of Cubans who are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. About 155,000 have arrived since last October.
Cuba is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades due to the pandemic and the tightening of U.S. sanctions.