MIAMI (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard says 97 Cuban migrants intercepted at sea have recently been returned to the island nation.
The Coast Guard reported in a news release Saturday that the migrants were caught in the Florida Straits on seven separate occasions.
Officials say they were attempting to reach the U.S., where Cubans who make it ashore are usually allowed to stay permanently. Cubans caught at sea are generally returned home.
The Coast Guard repatriated 67 of the migrants over the past week and the remaining 30 on Saturday.
The number of Cubans trying to migrate to the U.S. by boat is up significantly this year. The Coast Guard says at least 5,786 Cubans have tried to reach the U.S. by sea since Oct. 1, compared with 4,473 during fiscal 2015.