The number of Cubans attempting to come to the Unites States via Texas has increased this year, thanks in large part to the thaw in political tensions between the U.S. and Cuba.

After President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro announced their plans to normalize relations between the two nations, many Cubans feared that the special migrant status they have enjoyed for over 50 years would come to an end. The current “wet foot, dry foot policy” allows anyone who has fled Cuba and entered the U.S. the ability to pursue residency and work in the country.

The Los Angles Times reports that at least 44,000 Cubans have reached the southern U.S. border during the fiscal year which ended in September. This figure is more than twice as many of the 17,466 Cubans who came through the southern border the year before.

As previously reported, Nicaragua recently turned away hundreds of Cuban migrants who were trying to get to the U.S. though Central America.

Making the trip to the U.S. by way of Texas is less expensive than taking a raft from Cuba to Florida.

Jordanis Perez, a Cuban who decided to try his luck at coming to the U.S. though the Lone Star State, spent around $4,000 on his journey, a price that is considerably less than the $7,000 he would have spent on a risky boat trip to Florida.

Cubans refugees made up 3 percent of new U.S. migrant population in the 2000s. The Washington Post informs that soon after the U.S. and Cuba announced they would seek to normalize relations, the number of Cuban migrants increased.

Marc Rosenblum, the deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, notes that the rise in Cuban migrants in the U.S. is linked to the shift in the U.S. policy towards Cuba. “The numbers have definitely increased pretty sharply in the past couple of years, especially since normalized relations have been announced,” he said, adding, “I don't know if we've hit the top of that.”