South Florida

Lawyers Fight to Keep 21 Cuban Migrants in US

A group of South Florida lawyers is fighting to keep 21 Cuban migrants in the United States.

A Good Samaritan spotted the group atop the American Shoal Lighthouse near Key West Friday around 9 a.m. After spending several hours there, officials got the group down just after 5 p.m.

19 rafters had climbed on the lighthouse, while another two stayed in the group's vessel.

The Coast Guard said the group is safe and in good health. They received medical attention and food, but they will not be released to family members yet. They are in federal custody.

They said it's too soon to determine whether this applies to the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, which allows Cuban migrants who reach dry American land to stay in the country.

Immigration attorney Virlenys Palma called their arrival unique, "The circumstances are, in the sense of what happened with the lighthouse, the fact that they arrived at the lighthouse and were able to make it into the lighthouse, that is a little unusual."

While immigration officials consider the matter, advocates and relatives would like to see a list from the government, as to who was taken off the lighthouse and put in federal custody.

"These people are desperate," Palma said. "The only thing they have done so far is a tweet from the U.S. Coast Guard saying they are medically okay."

A decision is expected over the next several days.

Contact Us