MIAMI– US immigration officials said 187 Cuban migrants were arrested after landing in the Florida Keys on 10 different boats over the weekend.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar posted images of the small boats with no passengers on Twitter.
The Miami Herald said a large group was seen early Sunday via a live stream at the buoy from Key West’s southernmost point. Dozens of men, women and children were captured in the footage.
Between last October and June, Customs and Border Protection officials found and detained more than 1,300 Cubans arriving in Florida, while the number hovered between 200 and 300 for the same period over the past two years.
The US Coast Guard says it has arrested nearly 4,000 Cubans at sea since last October. For some years since the end of “wet foot, dry foot” in early 2017, the agency had seen a drop in Cubans arrested at sea. The policy allowed most Cubans who made it to US soil to stay.
The number of Cubans migrating by boat is still only a small fraction of the larger wave of Cubans crossing the US-Mexico border. About 155,000 have arrived since last October.
Cuba is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades due to the pandemic and tougher US sanctions.