IMMIGRATION

Flow of Cuban migrants surges after Fidel's death: 136 intercepted in 4 days

 Last weekend, three separate groups totaling 51 people landed successfully in the Florida Keys.

Last weekend, three separate groups totaling 51 people landed successfully in the Florida Keys.  (EFE)

In the last four days, 136 Cubans trying to reach the country illegally were intercepted in the Strait of Florida, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The migrants received food, water and medical care before being repatriated to Cabañas Bay.

They were intercepted in 8 different operations, the agency said.

The Coast Guard indicated that so far in December 541 Cubans have attempted to enter the United States by sea.

Under the so-called federal "wet foot, dry foot policy," Cubans who reach U.S. soil are generally allowed to stay, while those intercepted at sea are usually repatriated to Cuba.

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According to the U.S. officials, fears about that policy potentially ending have caused a surge in the numbers of Cuban migrants.

Many of them do land and are able to stay. Last weekend, three separate groups totaling 51 people landed successfully in the Florida Keys.

The first group of 11 migrants landed in the upper Keys in Tavernier. The second group of 22 migrants landed just north of Key West. The final group of 18 landed about 25 miles away on Big Pine Key. It was not immediately known if the groups were connected.

According to Coast Guard data, in the fiscal year 2016 the number of Cubans intercepted was 7,411, compared to 4,473 the year before.

Based on reporting by EFE and the AP.