MIAMI — The number of Cuban migrants risking sea crossings to U.S. soil has surpassed last year's tally, even as Havana and Washington have restored diplomatic relations.
Coast Guard officials in Miami said Tuesday that over 4,000 Cubans have been caught or intercepted in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean since the fiscal year began Oct. 1.
In the previous fiscal year, authorities tallied 3,731 Cubans attempting to illegally migrate to the U.S. by sea.
Coast Guard officials have said December's announcement of a detente may be driving more Cubans to attempt the journey, fearing the U.S. will change its policy allowing Cubans reaching U.S. land to stay and pursue citizenship.
Cuban migrants caught at sea usually are returned home, including 116 who were repatriated this week.