Coast Guard: Cuban migrants come down from lighthouse

AP News
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Posted: May 20, 2016 7:00 PM

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says 19 Cuban migrants have come down from an iron lighthouse off the Florida Keys.

The Miami Herald (http://goo.gl/O2MY9n) reports that the group descended about 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss says multiple federal agencies will determine whether the lighthouse is dry land under the so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot policy." Cubans reaching U.S. land usually can stay and pursue citizenship.

The 109-foot structure in about 10 feet of water is about 20 miles from Key West. Doss says the migrants swam from their homemade vessel to the lighthouse Friday morning when they saw the Coast Guard approaching.

Ten years ago, U.S. authorities sent home 15 Cubans who landed on an abandoned Keys bridge because they said it did not constitute land. A federal judge later ruled that decision was illegal.