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Federal judge to determine if American Shoal is considered US soil

21 Cuban migrants arrived at Florida Keys lighthouse Friday

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MIAMI – The names of six of the 21 Cuban migrants who arrived in South Florida on Friday are listed on an injunction filed in federal court Tuesday.

Advocates and relatives hope that a judge will decide that the spot where the migrants arrived, American Shoal Light, is considered American soil, as it is located about five miles offshore from Sugarloaf  Key.

The judge's decision will determine if the migrants can stay in the country based on the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which allows Cubans to stay as long as they make it to land.

"It is the waters of the United States, it is maintained with the budget of the federal government," Ramon Saul Sanchez of the Democracy Movement said. "It was determined to be a monument and its name is American Shoal."

Meanwhile, families have been working to determine if their loved ones were among the migrants who arrived.

"The ones that we have confirmed up to now have been because the relatives have visually seen them on top of the lighthouse when the press took the images," Sanchez said.

Due to privacy laws families cannot get an answer from the United States Coast Guard rightaway as to whether their relatives were on board the cutter that carried the migrants from the lighthouse.

"This takes a long time and a lot of suffering for a lot of people," Sanchez said.

The office of U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, has been working with the Coast Guard to get the names of those on board.

"We have to wait and we have to pray," Sanchez said.


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