This article was originally published by Predismo di Barrio [es] It was later reissued by Global Voices under a partnership agreement.
On May 16, the US State Department announce [en, come tutti i link successivi, salvo diversa indicazione] A set of measures designed to support the Cuban people with tools that allow them to search for better economic opportunities and a life free from government oppression.
The statement was made about a month later Advertising Immigration talks resume between the two countries and the reopening of the US consular office in Havana to process a limited number of visa applications.
Predismo di Barrio It answers some questions to understand the changes that have occurred in the last month in US policy towards Cuba.
What are the new measures taken by the Biden administration?
According to the State Department’s press release, the measures are aimed at supporting Cubans in their aspirations for freedom and better economic opportunity, and include increasing services provided by consulates that issue visas and resuming the family reunification program, which has been suspended. In December 2018 during the presidency of Donald Trump.
In addition, promoting the growth of the Cuban private sector through US Internet services, applications, and online commerce platforms; In addition to supporting connections between independent Cuban entrepreneurs and US stores, while creating new forms of making electronic payments and increasing access to trade and microfinance.
Likewise, the measures include eliminating Up to $1,000 per quarter For family transfers, facilitation of donations for Cuban businessmen, with a view to encouraging the expansion of their business, family visits to relatives in Cuba, as well as permitting travel of persons authorized to attend meetings and conduct research on an island.
What topics are discussed in immigration talks?
On April 21, 2022, for the first time in 4 years, representatives of the governments of Cuba and the United States did reunite them To discuss the implementation of the immigration agreements signed between the two countries. Since the 1990s, these meetings have been held twice a year, until they were suspended by the Trump administration in 2018.
Among the issues discussed in interviews In April, there were immigration trends, mechanisms put in place to deal with irregular immigration and compliance with US immigration laws, return and repatriation of citizens, and embassy functions. The dialogue was aimed at promoting legal, orderly and safe migration between the two countries.
The new measures announced by Biden and the resumption of immigration talks can be interpreted as a strategy to reduce the number of immigrants trying to enter the country illegally, particularly when analyzed in the context of meetings with representatives from other countries in the region, such as Mexico or Panamato discuss this issue.
What do the immigration agreements between Cuba and the United States say?
Immigration agreements between Cuba and the United States include bilateral treaties signed in 1984, 1994, 1995 and 2017.
That was in 1984 as a result of talks that had taken place between the two governments since December 1980, due to mass immigration from the port of Mariel. In the text Cuba agreed to accept the return of the 2,746 immigrants who left the country during this crisis, and are believed to be criminals and mentally ill in the United States.
The 1994 and 1995 agreements triggered the 1994 migration wave, known as the “Balcyros Crisis”, during which about 30,000 Cuban They left the island and arrived in the United States by sea.
The agreements included US government guarantees of the case At least 20,000 visas per year. In May 1995 another document was signed where Yes established Cubans who were intercepted at sea or illegally entered the Guantanamo Naval Base will be returned to Cuba, with the Cuban government pledging not to be prosecuted or punished for attempting to leave the country illegally.
Both agreements led to the creation of the so-called “Dry feet, wet feet”, as it has been established that if Cuban immigrants are intercepted at sea, they will be repatriated, while those who manage to disembark can remain in the United States.
For its part, agreement 2017Which took place during the last days of Obama’s stay in the White House, ended this policy and Cuban Medical Professionals Permit ProgramBush administration, which was created in 2009 in order to allow entry into the United States for medical personnel who worked or studied under the Cuban government in a third country.
How much has irregular immigration from Cuba to the United States increased?
On December 10, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, from its English acronym) Closed [es] definitively his local office in Havana which, as a result of the so-called “Havana Syndrome” [es]Since December 2017, it has almost completely stopped the visa-issue business.
Also in 2018, the Trump administration suspended enforcement of immigration agreements between the two countries Family Reunification Program. Close legal channels for applying for visas to the United States, in addition to The deteriorating economic situation on the island [es]led to an increase in irregular immigration to the United States.
Since then legal immigration to this country has shrunk to 90%, a report Article published by the Quincy Institute. In 2020 alone, the US Customs and Border Protection found that more than 14,000 Cubans were attempting to enter the country without a permit. For 2021, the number has risen to 39,303, and in early 2022, to 79,835, the Quincy Institute notes.
according to data By Trac Immigration, there were 83,478 Cubans waiting for a response to their asylum applications in the US as of April 2022. This number represents an all-time high, with more than double the total pending cases recorded in 2021.
In turn, as of April 2022, the majority of orders occurred in Florida, accounting for 60.1% of the total, followed by Texas (20.8%) and Tennessee (3.8%). Puerto Rico was the state with the fewest cases, at just 0.02%.
In contrast to the mass immigration of the 1980s and 1990s, Cubans in recent years have chosen to enter the United States by land rather than sea. L ‘Visa Cancellation [es] By the government of Nicaragua in November 2021 they are allowed to travel to that country and then continue overland to the southern border of the United States.
Article published by the Washington Post It is to explain Most immigrants enter from Yuma, Arizona, where there are breaks in the border wall, or from the crossing named Del Rio, Texas, through a shallow stretch of the Rio Grande River.
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