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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Since the U.S. and Cuba announced they would restore diplomatic relations, more and more Cubans have attempted the treacherous sea voyage in an effort to reach the U.S. illegally, the Coast Guard said.

The overall number of migrants making risky sea voyages toward U.S. shores from the Caribbean, including Cuba, has spiked in the past year. But the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday that the significant increase in the number of Cuban migrants since mid-December has been prompted by rumors that an abrupt end is coming this month to the so-called wet foot-dry foot policy. It usually shields Cubans from deportation if they reach U.S. shores.

There are no immediate plans to change the policy.

Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma says U.S. authorities have captured, intercepted or chased away 421 Cubans since Dec. 17.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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