Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cuban migrants land in Puerto Rico

Cuban migrants land in Puerto Rico

Wednesday, June 28, 2006; Posted: 1:38 p.m. EDT (17:38 GMT)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Nineteen Cubans arrived Wednesday in two
separate boats to a remote Puerto Rican nature preserve that has become
an increasingly frequent destination for migrants who are trying to
reach this U.S. territory, police said.

The first group of migrants -- six men and two women -- touched ground
on Mona Island, a Puerto Rican island off the U.S. Caribbean territory's
west coast, before dawn and were followed by another group -- five men,
three women and three children -- whose boat arrived 30 minutes later.

Police said the first boat returned to the Dominican Republic after
unloading the migrants. But the second group of Cuban migrants told
authorities that their low-slung vessel, known as a "yola," continued to
the main island of Puerto Rico with an unidentified number of Dominican

The migrants were all reported in good health after the journey except
for one woman who was suffering from low blood sugar.

Under the U.S. government's long-standing "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy,
Cubans who reach the United States -- including the U.S. Caribbean
territory of Puerto Rico -- are generally allowed to stay while those
picked up at sea are returned to their country.

Smugglers in small boats frequently attempt to carry migrants from the
Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, a roughly 70-mile (110-kilometer)
journey across the often-perilous Mona Passage.

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