DANIA BEACH, Fla. – Whether by land or sea, Cuban migrants continue to make landfall in South Florida.
Raul Sanchez is part of the group of the 12 Cuban men who made it to Miami Beach on Thursday evening. The 55-year-old was released on Friday and said he is thankful to God and ready to start a new life.
His group made the five-day journey from the town of Nuevitas in the Camaguey province in a rickety boat.
The border patrol last reported a more than 500 percent increase in encounters with Cuban migrants since the same time last fiscal year. South Florida has seen more than 800 migrants arrive since Oct. 1. in more than 50 landings.
Total numbers of Cuban migration at the national level, including border crossings, break all-time records. Since Oct. 2021, more than 224,000 Cubans have been processed. Only Mexicans and Guatemalans surpass that number.
Immigration has become front and center on the campaign trail, with midterm elections taking place next week.
“Five to 6,000 people a day are coming,” said Senator Marco Rubio, (R) Florida.
Senator Rubio is not wrong, but immigration experts believe that is not the whole story.
“Some people are expelled back to Mexico under Title 42 and can cross the border, one, two, three, four, five times and get counted every single time as an apprehension,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, American Immigration Council Policy Director.
But the numbers keep rising, especially with Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Cubans who may continue to make the journey to the United States.
“Once Cubans have made it onto US soil, the United States has really had no choice but to release and allow them to seek asylum and that is as true today as it was five years ago as it was under President Trump,” said Reichlin-Melnick
Last month, Local 10 News asked Senator Rubio who is of Cuban descent, about immigration in general.
“I do not believe anyone should come to this country illegally. I don’t believe anyone should turn themselves over to the trafficking network or jump on the raft and take to the ocean to come to America,” said Rubio.
In the debates, his opponent Val Demings weighed in.
“Yes, we need to secure our border more. I think we can do that with technology, more boots on the ground and more people to process,” said Rep. Val Demings, (D) Senate Candidate.
The Coast Guard reported sending back 68 Cubans to the island on Friday. More than 6,000 have been repatriated in the last fiscal year.