Once people expect something, it is very difficult to take it away. Cuban migrants have become increasingly aggressive when encountering Coast Guard crews. In the past four months alone, almost 2,000 Cubans have attempted to gain entry into the U.S. Their aggression stems from rumors that they will no longer be given a chance to obtain U.S. citizenship if they are fortunate enough to reach American soil.
Not all of the migrants are acting in a violent manner, only some. Cuba is portrayed by some as a beautiful paradise frozen in time, but the reality is far from that image and Cubans are fleeing in record numbers. One would-be migrant was trying to live off of a $20-per-month salary as a teacher, and his side business of selling sandwiches on the streets was shut down by the Cuban police. As he attempted to make the journey to the United States, he was intercepted and put into a holding camp in Puerto Rico.
The flood of migrants will not stop anytime soon, and as one source stated, “The only way you could make sure that Cubans don’t wake up and leave for the United States is if you put up a big sign that says [Cuban leaders] Fidel and Raul Castro are coming to the U.S.”
The Obama administration has another problem on their hands that they have no clear solution for. Immigration into the United States, illegal or not, shows no sign of improving under the current leadership.
U.S. immigration policies haven’t changed with the restoration of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington. But the chief of response for the Coast Guard’s 7th district says an ongoing surge in Cubans fleeing their homeland by sea is fueled by rumors they soon will lose the benefits of the so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy allowing Cubans who reach U.S. land to stay and pursue citizenship.
Capt. Mark Fedor says his crews have been documenting more hostility among the migrants as well over the last six months. Fedor says security has been added for migrants aboard Coast Guard vessels because more are jumping overboard, trying to poison themselves, or suffering self-inflicted wounds in attempts to be taken to U.S. shore.
The Miami Herald reported that the Coast Guard has picked up at least 396 migrants in the waters between Florida and Cuba in just the first few weeks of 2016. The newspaper added that officials have noted an increase in migrants since the U.S. announced the normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba just over a year ago.
The Coast Guard said that 1,942 Cubans have tried to travel to the U.S since Oct. 1.