The Cayman Islands government on Tuesday sent home 32 Cuban migrants who were part of a wave of men and women who showed up on Cayman’s shores in the first months of the year.
A total of 102 migrants remain in the Immigration Department’s detention center in George Town and in community centers in East End and Bodden Town. Several Cuban nationals are also in Northward Prison, sentenced to serve time for illegal landing when they left their boats after arriving on the islands.
Cuban migrants are allowed to pass through Cayman’s waters, but if they come ashore, they are held by the Immigration Department and repatriated to Cuba under an agreement between the two governments.
Migrants from Cuba regularly pass by the Cayman Islands on their way to Honduras, where they typically take a land route north through Mexico to the United States.
The uptick in Cuban migrations has been blamed on fears over the end of the U.S. “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, which gives preferential treatment to Cuban migrants who make it to U.S. soil.