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Cubans Land On Brac As US Ends Migrant Policy

Cubans Land On Brac As US Ends Migrant Policy
Cuban vessel that ran aground on Cayman Brac 13 January 2017.

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Immigration officials are in the process of transferring another group of Cubans from Cayman Brac to the Immigration Detention Centre and other facilities on Grand Cayman after a makeshift boat carrying 28 migrants ran aground over the weekend.

Possibly unaware of the announcement by the US authorities last week of an immediate end to the ‘wet-foot, dry-foot’ policy, the migrants were unable to continue their journey and would therefore in any case be repatriated to Havana.

Many have seen the policy, which allowed Cubans who made it to American soil to remain there legally, as a pull factor in migration from the communist island, and over the years the Cayman authorities have had to deal with thousands of Cubans who have ended up in local waters in dangerously unsafe vessels, unable to continue on.

The latest group was no exception, as they were forced to land in Cayman Brac when the boat ran aground, stranding the would-be migrants. The group of 25 men and three women are currently in immigration custody in the Brac and officials said arrangements are underway to have the vessel safely removed. Another Cuban boat that ran aground late last year in the Barkers area was successfully removed from the water on Sunday

There are currently 113 Cuban migrants in immigration custody but officials remain hopeful that the change in US policy will dramatically reduce the numbers of migrants attempting to cross to Central America by sea that end up in Cayman.