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Illegal Immigration from Cuba to U.S. Increased 117% in December

Wednesday, 07 January 2015

MIAMI – A total of 481 illegal Cuban immigrants reached or were found on U.S. territory in December 2014, a 117 percent increase compared to the same month a year ago, the U.S. Coast Guard has reported.

Last week, U.S. authorities repatriated 121 Cuban migrants who were intercepted on homemade rafts and other small boats in seven different operations.

“Individuals must have a visa or other permission to travel to the States and anyone located at sea will be returned to Cuba in accordance with immigration laws,” Coast Guard 7th District commander Rear Admiral Jake Korn said on Monday.

Korn added that the recent announcements by U.S. President Barack Obama would not change the “wet foot/dry foot” immigration policy.

According to the policy, which has been in force since 1966, Cubans who succeed in reaching U.S. soil can remain there while those intercepted at sea, though they may only be a few feet from shore, are sent back to Cuba.

This law can only be changed by Congress, Korn said while reporting the repatriation of the 121 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, in western Cuba.

Last month Obama announced the beginning of a process to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba which had been severed since 1961, citing the failure of the isolation policy of more than 50 years.

Latin American Herald Tribune

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