The U.S. Coast Guard in South Florida is asking family members to discourage loved ones in Cuba and elsewhere from making dangerous and illegal trips by sea to the country.
The quest for a better life in the United States is nothing new, but with the increase in the number of Cuban migrants, the Coast Guard wants migrants to assess the risks.
“People get hurt, people die. It’s safer if they try to come to the United States and migrate legally,” said Petty Officer Nicole Groll of Miami’s 7th Coast Guard District.
Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews have intercepted nearly 3,800 Cubans, the most since 2016.
U.S. Border Patrol officials said Wednesday that a group of 25 Cuban migrants arrived in Key West on a “rustic ship.”
On Sunday, there were two separate migrant landings in the Florida Keys involving more than 20 migrants, officials said.
A day earlier, 15 Cuban migrants had to be rescued after becoming stranded on an island in the Marquesas Islands, officials said.
Cuban migrants don’t just make the 90-mile journey by sea, they also cross the southern border on foot, many passing through Nicaragua, which recently scrapped visa requirements for Cubans.
“Some families even send money to their relatives to help pay for these businesses and they might pay smugglers who don’t care whether they live or not, going through the business,” Groll said. “So it’s safer to make sure everyone stays alive if you come to the United States legally.”
Coast Guard officials said they patrol the Florida Strait daily by air and sea.