The 12 men, five women and two children were discovered Wednesday morning by an off-duty Defense Department officer jogging on military property, Key West police said. The officer knocked on Capt. J.R. Brown's front door, alerting him to the group and asking to use his phone to call authorities.
The group arrived in what appeared to be a homemade boat, police said.
Brown asked a Spanish-speaking neighbor to meet with the Cubans, who appeared fine, he said.
The captain said he knew the arrival of Cuban immigrants near his backyard in Key West, 90 miles from Cuba, was a possibility when he took the post within the past year.
Under U.S. policy, Cubans found on shore are generally allowed to stay, while those found at sea are usually returned to Cuba.