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New Cuban escape route: via Mexico

Starting Nov. 20, undocumented Cubans found in Mexico will face immediate deportation.

On duty: Members of the Mexican Navy patrolled the waters off Isla Mujeres, Mexico, on Sunday.

Asel llana Ugalde

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Cubans have a new route to the US – and it goes through Cancún.

As the US Coast Guard has beefed up patrols off Miami, more Cubans are fleeing to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, 120 miles west of Cuba's tip. From the Mexican resort area, smugglers take them north to the US border. Last year, more than 11,000 Cubans were caught crossing into the US from Mexico, twice the number caught in 2004.

It's also put pressure on Mexico. On a recent day, the Mexican Navy patrols the choppy turquoise waters off Isla Mujeres, where they've recently added picking up undocumented Cubans to their list of duties that already include interdicting drug smugglers and looking for boaters in distress. That's why Mexico's tightening its immigration rules.

Starting Nov. 20, Cubans found in Mexico will face immediate deportation.


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