More Cuba Headlines

MIAMI – A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a group of Cuban migrants who made it to the American Shoal lighthouse near Sugarloaf Key will not be staying in the United States.

After an eight-hour standoff on the 109-foot-tall lighthouse ended, a dilemma started. If the lighthouse was considered U.S. soil under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, the migrants would be allowed to apply for legal residency. But if it wasn't, they would have to go back.

Judge Darrin P. Gayle's ruling said the lighthouse, where 21 out of the 23 Cuban migrants used as refuge, is not dry land but a "navigational aid." The migrants — who have been in the custody of the U.S. Coast Guard since May 20 and 21 — couldn't stay in the U.S.

Gayle also said the attorneys who filed the injunction in U.S. District Court on May 24 disputing the Cubans return were from a group that doesn't have "any standing in this case." Gayle listened to arguments June 2.

The attorneys were working pro bono upon the request of Movimiento Democracia, a group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles.

Gayle also disagreed with the Cubans' lawyers when they argued the group of Cuban migrants was denied due process. The U.S. Constitution does not protect immigrants, Gayle said.


The ruling comes as the U.S. Coast Guard faces a new influx of Cuban migrants. With the renewed diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the immigration policy could come to an end, and many more Cubans are risking their lives.

On Saturday alone, a group of five Cubans arrived to Key Biscayne in the morning. In the afternoon, a group of 11 made it to Hollywood Beach. One of the 11 didn't find freedom. In an act of desperation, he pulled out a machete to threaten a federal agent. He left the beach in handcuffs.

Copyright 2016 by WPLG – All rights reserved.

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