An emotional scene unfolded on a Hollywood beach near Charleston Street on Sept. 9 at approximately 1:43 p.m. Eleven men, between 25 and 45 years of age, landed a boat, dropped to their knees and kissed the ground amid much was cheering and picture-taking. One witness stated that she believed the men to be immigrants who had just arrived from Cuba. This is not the first time Cuban immigrants have landed in Florida seeking asylum, but the event is rare.
After landing on the beach, the men started walking toward a nearby parking lot, where the situation turned more serious. The witness overheard a lifeguard talking on the telephone with police and told the men to run. Less than an hour after the boat landed on the shore, the men were taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol. All were photographed and fingerprinted. They told officials that they were from Cuba and had been sailing for three days prior to landing on the Florida beach. Officials checked to ensure that the men were not injured and that they did not have criminal records.
The men were given a notice to appear in court for an immigration hearing. They were not detained further. Police believed that members of Church World Service of Miami, an organization that helps immigrants in need, would pick the men up and help put them in contact with relatives in the United States.
The process of applying for U.S. citizenship can be daunting, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the legal system or the language. An attorney that has experience in immigration law may be able to help make the process easier by keeping the client informed throughout the process and assisting with the necessary paperwork.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Cuban immigrants come ashore on Hollywood beach“, Wayne K. Roustan, September 09, 2013