US

Lawsuit: Cubans who scaled Keys lighthouse should stay in US

  • In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf. (WSVN via AP)

    In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf. (WSVN via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf. (WSVN-TV via AP)

    In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans stand atop American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key in a standoff with Coast Guard, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf. (WSVN-TV via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans interact with members of the Coast Guard during a standoff at American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf. (WSVN-TV via AP)

    In this Friday, May 20, 2016 image made from video a group of Cubans interact with members of the Coast Guard during a standoff at American Shoal Lighthouse off Sugarloaf Key, in the Florida Keys. The group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto the 136-year-old lighthouse off the Florida Keys should be allowed to stay in the U.S., according to a federal lawsuit filed on their behalf. (WSVN-TV via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A group of migrants who fled Cuba in a homemade boat and climbed onto a lighthouse off the Florida Keys want to be allowed to stay in the United States.

Under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, Cubans who reach U.S. territory are generally allowed to remain in this country, while those intercepted at sea usually go back.

The question put to a federal judge in Miami is whether the American Shoal lighthouse counts as U.S. territory, even though it is about seven miles from dry land.

There's some precedent here: In 2006, a judge ruled that part of the old Seven Mile Bridge in the Keys qualifies, even though it is no longer connected to land.

The 21 migrants remain aboard a Coast Guard cutter.