WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On Tuesday, the agency’s Border Patrol police force detained 13 Cubans at a state park on Long Key. Another 56 migrants were arrested during a series of landings along the southern Florida coast during the previous week, the release said.
The Border Patrol "has observed a steady increase in maritime illegal immigration and drug-smuggling attempts over the past year up and down Florida’s coastline," Miami Sector Division Chief Todd Bryant said in the release. "The focus is to stop smuggling by prosecuting smugglers and dismantling transnational criminal organizations."
Cuban refugees enjoy a unique status under US law in that they are usually allowed to remain in the United States if they set foot on land. If interdicted at sea, they are immediately returned to the Caribbean island.
The flow of refugees has increased since US President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana in 2015.