MIAMI – Lawyers for Cuban migrants who climbed onto a lighthouse off the shores of the Florida Keys are telling a judge that means they arrived on U.S. territory and should get to stay.
Attorneys for the federal government, however, said at a hearing in Miami federal court Thursday that the 136-year-old American Shoal lighthouse is U.S. property but not equal to dry land. The judge said he would issue a ruling within a few weeks.
At issue is whether the lighthouse located about 7 miles from Sugarloaf Key qualifies as U.S. territory under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy.
Under that policy, Cubans who reach U.S. shores are usually allowed to stay, while those intercepted at sea are generally returned home.
The migrants are currently on a Coast Guard cutter.