DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Three groups of Cuban migrants who came ashore in the Florida Keys, early Sunday morning, are heading to Doral to receive help and, in some cases, reunite with loved ones.
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, 46 people, including at least two children, touched American soil. The first group of 11 Cuban migrants arrived in Tavernier at 5:30 a.m.
The second group, comprised of 22 Cuban migrants, landed in Boca Chica Key, which is north of Key West. A third group of 13 migrants arrived in Big Pine Key at around 7:30 a.m.
They have all been turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for processing.
Family members awaited their reunion with loved ones at Catholic Charities Legal Services in Doral, Monday morning.
Speaking through a translator, one woman told 7News she is waiting for her 18-year-old son, who she hasn’t seen in 10 years. “The anxiety that I’m feeling — I don’t know, there’s no way of explaining it,” said Maydes Rodriguez. “There’s no way to say. There’s no way to see the hours run by. It feels as time has stood still.”
“We’re desperate, because we haven’t heard from them in five days,” said Hannah Fernandez, who is hoping to see six family members.
This large group of Cuban migrants added to a busy month where, just last week, a large group of 41 migrants landed in the Marquesas Keys, which is 20 miles west of Key West.
Experts said they expect the number of Cuban migrants to make the dangerous journey by boat across the Florida Straits to climb. “We have seen a sharp increase in the number of Cubans arriving into the United States,” said Sebastian Arcos, Assistant Director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University
Arcos said Cubans are being pushed away by a regime unchanged by the death of Fidel Castro, and they are drawn to America out of fear of what the future holds for the “wet foot, dry foot” police under a new administration.
“The ‘pull’ factor is the fact that the United States immigration law might change, and will probably change,” said Arcos.
A bus picked up the migrants in Marathon, and they are currently on their way to Doral.
Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.