MIAMI – Twenty-three undocumented Cubans arrived in Key West on Thursday after making the 145-kilometer (90-mile) voyage from the Communist-ruled island, U.S. media outlets reported.
Police in Key West confirmed that the 21 men and two women came ashore on Smathers beach.
Under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act and the accompanying policy known as “wet foot, dry foot,” Cubans who reach U.S. soil are entitled to remain in the country and become legal residents, while those intercepted at sea are almost always repatriated to the island.
A 1980 amendment to the Cuban Adjustment Act made Cuban immigrants eligible for the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program, regardless of their reasons for leaving Cuba.
President Barack Obama’s administration has no plans to seek changes to the Cuban Adjustment Act, the State Department’s No. 2 official for Latin America, Francisco Palmieri, said this week during a Senate hearing.
Lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties have urged the repeal of the legislation, which they say encourages Cubans to emigrate, a complaint long heard from the government in Havana.