The U.S. Coast Guard in South Florida is asking family members to discourage their relatives from Cuba and elsewhere from making dangerous and illegal voyages by sea to the country.
The trek for a better life in the U.S. is nothing new but with Cuban migration numbers on the rise, the Coast Guard wants migrants to weigh the risks.
"People are getting hurt, people are dying. It is safest if they try to come to the U.S. and migrate legally," said Petty Officer Nicole Groll with the Coast Guard's 7th District in Miami.
Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews have interdicted nearly 3,800 Cubans, the most since 2016.
U.S. Border Patrol officials said Wednesday that a group of 25 Cuban migrants arrived in Key West on a "rustic vessel."
On Sunday, there were two separate migrant landings in the Florida Keys involving more than 20 migrants, officials said.
The day before, 15 Cuban migrants had to be rescued after they became stranded on an island in the Marquesas Keys, officials said.
Cuban migrants aren't just making the 90-mile trek by sea, they're also coming by foot across the southern border, with many coming through Nicaragua, which recently dropped visa requirements for Cubans.
"Some families are even sending money back to their loved ones to help them pay for these ventures and they could be paying smugglers who don’t care whether they live or not, coming through the venture," Groll said. "So it’s safest in making sure everyone stays alive if you come to the U.S. legally."
Coast Guard officials said they patrol the Florida Straits by air and sea every day.
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