Sunday, September 28, 2008

Officials seeing fewer Cubans trying to reach U.S.

Officials seeing fewer Cubans trying to reach U.S.
Posted 6h 23m ago

MIAMI (AP) — Fewer Cubans have been apprehended this year trying to
enter the United States, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The agency said over the weekend it had seen 25% fewer Cubans trying to
illegally enter the country this fiscal year, which ends Tuesday. That
amounts to 2,140 people, compared with 2,868 migrants last year.

Under U.S. policy, Cubans caught at sea are typically returned to their
native country, while those who make landfall are allowed to remain in
the country.

The decline has come after an ailing Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's
president in February, ceding control of the communist nation to his
brother after nearly a half-century in power.

Still, plenty of Cubans are trying to make the 90-mile trip to the
United States. Officials sent 29 Cubans back in four different incidents
over the past week.

The Coast Guard said almost 100 Cubans in the most recent two-year
period died or are missing and presumed dead attempting the trip to the U.S.

A Cuban who has not been identified was declared dead Wednesday from
head injuries while trying to evade federal agents in rough seas. He was
riding on an overloaded 25-foot speedboat with 32 others.

The decrease in those attempting the journey could be due to a busy
Atlantic storm season. The Caribbean has been walloped much of the past
two months by several hurricanes and named storms, after two relatively
quiet years.

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