New U.S. statistics show nearly twice as many Cuban migrants reached the United States by foot and sea in the last three months of 2015 compared with the same period the year earlier, an exodus apparently fueled by the restoration of diplomatic relations between the former political foes.

Department of Homeland Security figures show about 17,000 Cubans reached the United States from October through December. Slightly more than 9,000 Cuban migrants arrived during the same months in 2014.

The exodus has been driven in part by Cubans' fears they could lose privileges that now let them stay in the United States if they reach American soil.

The Obama administration says it doesn't plan to change U.S.-Cuba immigration policy, but some lawmakers want to end privileges for Cuban migrants.