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March 24, 2017

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Cubans still trying to reach US by sea despite rule change

Updated Monday, March 20, 2017 | 2:06 p.m.

MIAMI (AP) — Cubans are still making risky sea journeys to the U.S. despite the end of a policy that allowed them to stay if they made it to American soil.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it intercepted 65 Cubans trying to reach Florida or Puerto Rico since Jan. 12. That's when former President Barack Obama ended the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy as part of the normalization of relations with Cuba.

The change means Cubans are no longer generally granted the right to stay upon reaching the U.S. Now they must have a visa or prove a credible fear of persecution like migrants from other countries.

The Coast Guard had no statistics Monday for the same period in 2016. The agency caught nearly 2,000 in the three months before the change.