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USCG: Cuban Migration To U.S. Up By 350 %

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The amount of Cubans making their way to the U.S. by sea is up by 350 %, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The stats were released Friday in the form of a tweet from their southeast sector along with an image of one of the pilots flying over the sea.

The new information comes on the heels of what the pope has a called a "humanitarian drama" involving an estimated 8,000 Cuban migrants trying to reach the U.S. by land instead of sea.

Many of the migrants, looking to come through the Mexican border, flew to Ecuador and tried to trek their way through Central America before getting stuck at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua who would not let them through back in December.

The stranded migrants were later given the option to buy a ticket from San Jose to Mexico City  then take a bus to the U.S. border where they would be allowed into the states.

Related: Dade Prepped To Receive Cubans Stranded In Central America

The spike in Cuban migrants coming to the U.S. may be attributed to fears that renewed relations between Cuba and the United States could bring an end to the Wet Foot Dry Foot Policy. This allows Cubans to apply for residency if they reach the U.S. by land.

It's a policy Cuba's government has called "dated" and a form of promoting illegal immigration.

The numbers of Cubans trying to reach the U.S. through Latin America has spiked since December 2014 - when the U.S. and Cuba announced efforts to normalize relations.

It has become an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, especially for Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio who says the new Cuban migrants coming into the U.S. are abusing the system.

The Florida senator told CBS4's Jim DeFede he plans introduce a bill to restrict benefits for Cuban migrants which he plans to file in the next few days.

Click here to read more about U.S.- Cuba Relations.

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