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Coast Guard: Fewer Cubans Trying to Reach US Using Rafts

  • VOA News

Seven men trying to migrate illegally to the United States on a raft are stopped by Cuba's Coast Guard near Havana, June 4, 2009.

The U.S. Coast Guard says far fewer Cubans are trying to get to Florida using makeshift rafts since former President Barack Obama ended a policy granting residency to Cubans landing on American soil.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Kate Webb said overall interdictions have dropped from as many as 25 a day to about 20 per month since Obama ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

The policy allowed Cubans who reached U.S. territorial waters to remain in the country but those intercepted in the waters between the two nations were returned home.

Webb said Tuesday that up to 70 percent of interdictions now involve go-fast boats, not the rustic vessels called “chugs.” The speedboats are towed to shore for law enforcement investigations.

Captain Jeffrey Janszen told The Citizen newspaper that migrants pay up to $10,000 each to cross aboard go-fast boats, compared with several hundred dollars in a chug.

The Coast Guard has expressed concern that President Donald Trump's vow to build a wall along the southern border will likely increase sea traffic of migrants trying to enter the United States.

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