A group of 11 migrants kissed the sand as they got off of their raft after traveling nearly two weeks to reach Florida. The Cubans were reportedly armed with weapons, prompting authorities to Taser one migrant as well as use a bean-bag gun. The Cubans threatened to hurt themselves with the knives and machetes if they were not allowed on shore.
One of the migrants also had an abdominal wound, which may have been from a stabbing, according to Capt. Greg May of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.
Six migrants were sent to Broward Health Medical Center to receive medical attention while Dania Beach Border Patrol Station held another five other migrants.
The Cubans will “more than likely” be able to stay in the U.S. and get residency a year after arriving, due to the “wet foot, dry foot policy,” according to U.S. Border Patrol. This policy means Cubans caught by the Coast Guard while at sea are taken back to Cuba, while Cubans who make it to U.S. soil, get to stay.
The U.S. normalized ties with Communist Cuba in December 2014. Normalization of ties led to the re-opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba and a Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 2015. President Barack Obama visited Cuba in March, the first U.S. president to do so in almost 90 years.
Many Cubans fear that since the U.S. and Cuba engage with one another diplomatically, that Cuban asylum-seekers will stop receiving special treatment as migrants. This rush to get into the U.S. has caused chaos for countries such as Costa Rica and Panama where Cubans often go to as they head to the U.S.
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