28 Cuban refugees make dry land in the Florida Keys
28 Cuban refugees fleeing their island prison by sea were able to make dry land in Key West and Marathon this past Friday. Apparently, they had not heard that life in Cuba has improved tremendously thanks to the magnanimous reforms of dictator Raul Castro.
28 Cubans make it ashore at Southernmost Point Friday
For most visitors of the Southernmost Point, a stone's throw from Mile Marker 0, it is daylight hours when they stand beside the colorful bouy landmark smiling for a photo.
At 3 a.m. Friday, 28 Cubans made a landing, but it was a far cry from the usual hustle and bustle of tourist season. Another three made it ashore in Marathon on Thursday around 9:20 a.m.
Instead, this group came ashore in the dark with little else but the clothes on their backs.
Once U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities were notified, the refugees were well on their way to freedom. They will be processed, given medical treatment if needed and taken to a center near Miami. It usually takes up to a month to get the necessary paperwork before they are released.
The U.S. has the "wet-foot, dry-foot policy" that puts Cubans who reach U.S. soil on a fast track to permanent residency. The government initiated the policy in 1995 as an amendment to the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act passed by Congress when Cold War tensions ran high between the U.S. and the island nation.
A Key West police officer was also on site Friday morning and handed out a bunch of American flags he had collected following the fireworks display at Higgs Beach earlier in the evening. The immigrants got their picture taken near the famous statue.
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