MIAMI (CBS4) – U.S. Immigration officials are seeing an uptick in the number of undocumented Cubans entering or trying to reach the country.
CBS4 News partner Miami Herald’s Spanish language publication, El Nuevo Herald, reports that migrants intercepted at sea or reaching U.S. shores have more than doubled over the last year.
The paper reports that 1,700 Cubans were interdicted or reached land in the 2011 fiscal year, which ended in September. The previous year there were 831. The largest increase was seen in Coast Guard interdictions at sea, which rose from 422 to 1,000.
Landings to U.S. shores rose from 409 to nearly 700, while arrivals at border posts remained largely unchanged.
Those numbers reverse a three-year downward trend.
Activists and those in contact with undocumented immigrants say the island’s weak economy could be fueling the increase. Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, says there is less money and food each day.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)