MIAMI – After an 11-day ocean journey, six Cuban migrants arrived Monday on a homemade raft at one of the beaches on Miami Beach, where they were picked up by U.S. immigration authorities, local television reported.
In the videos broadcast by several media outlets the rafters are seen being greeted and welcomed by some of the people who were enjoying the beach at the time they arrived.
The migrants said that they were in good health, despite the fact that they had little water and food during their 11-day voyage across the Florida Strait.
The half dozen men were taken to the Miami Beach police station.
Cubans who set foot on U.S. territory are protected by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act and its so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy, whereby they may remain in the country, while Cuban migrants intercepted before they make it to the U.S. coast may be deported back to the communist island.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, so far this fiscal year, which began last Oct. 1, 3,299 Cubans have been intercepted in the Florida Strait.
The Coast Guard said that during the last fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, 2015, 4,473 Cubans were intercepted while trying to make it to the United States by sailing across the Florida Strait.
In Fiscal 2015, more than 43,000 Cubans arrived in the United States, a greater than 77 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says.