Brittany M. Hughes | 10 hours ago

Less than two full weeks into the new year, U.S. border agents are already warning of an escalating wave of illegal migration from Cuba, highlighting yet another leak in our porous southern border and countering President Obama’s narrative that U.S. relations with Cuba have been normalized following improvements in the communist nation.

To date, CBP officials report having rescued 49 illegal aliens from Cuba who became stranded on Mona and Monito, two tiny islands belonging to Puerto Rico and under U.S. jurisdiction. Smugglers often transport Cuban migrants to the islands and leave them to by picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard, who then transport them to the United States for immigration processing.

Coast guard agents picked up 33 Cuban aliens Monday who’d been abandoned on the island, including a four-year-old girl.

Last weekend, which marked the start of the New Year, the Caribbean Border Interagency Group picked up another 16 Cuban aliens who'd been left for rescue.

Border officials noted that of the 694 illegal aliens apprehended by agents with the Ramey Sector, located in Puerto Rico, 395 of them – nearly 60 percent – were Cuban.

Though illegal immigration from Cuba is nothing new (the U.S. even passed laws in the ‘60s and mid-‘90s that granted most Cubans who made it to the United States permission to stay as refugees), border agents have recently begun sounding the alarm indicating that illegal migration from Cuba is ramping up – including the number who are caught passing through the U.S.-Mexico border. During a particularly heavy month last year, border officials reported apprehending “increasing numbers of inadmissible Cubans” at the U.S. border, along with the more typical aliens from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

While the alarming spike is often overshadowed by the larger immigration crisis stemming from Central American nations, the Center for Immigration Studies reported 46,635 illegal aliens from Cuba arrived in the United States unlawfully between Oct. 1 of 2015 and last July 31, surpassing FY2015’s overall record of 43,154.