MIAMI (TheBlaze/AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says it's documenting increasing instances of violence and noncompliance at sea among Cuban migrants.
In this image taken on Jan. 4, 2016, released by the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard personnel left, try to assist a group of Cuban migrants on a makeshift vessel in the Florida Straits. The U.S. Coast Guard says it's documenting increasing instances of violence and non-compliance at sea among Cuban migrants. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
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 reaching 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 rafters 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.