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Coast Guard reports illegal Cuban migration down this year
So far, 2,140 Cuban migrants -- 25 percent less than all of the previous fiscal year -- have been caught attempting to illegally enter the United States. In fiscal year 2006, the Coast Guard caught 2,868 migrants.

During the two-year period, nearly 100 Cuban migrants died or were reported as missing and presumed dead in attempting to illegally enter the United States.

Earlier this week, a Cuban man trying to reach Florida on a speedboat with 32 others died from head injuries he might have suffered when suspected smugglers tried to run from federal authorities in rough seas.

The man, whose name has not been released, was declared dead early Wednesday at Opa-locka Airport's Coast Guard station. He was airlifted to the station after cutters stopped the grossly overloaded 25-foot speedboat south of Key Largo late Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Coast Guard said they had returned 29 Cuban migrants in four separate incidents during the past week.

Two Cuban migrants groups were located separately south of Key West on Monday. The third group was spotted when the Coast Guard received an anonymous call about a raft carrying nine
Cuban migrants about nine miles south of Islamorada. The fourth group of five Cubans was spotted in a rustic vessel 15 miles north of Havana.

The Cuban migrants were returned to Bahia de Cabañas in northern Cuba on Friday under the U.S. wet-foot, dry-foot policy. Typically, Cuban migrants caught at sea are returned to Cuba, while those who reach land are generally allowed to stay in the United States.

(Miami Herald)




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