More than 29,000 Cubans have received authorization to travel to the United States under a humanitarian program, while irregular entries across the southern border have been reduced, a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Thursday.
“The demand for this program is huge and more than 29,000 Cubans are already authorized to travel to the United States,” said Blas Núñez-Neto, DHS undersecretary for border and immigration policy in a teleconference with reporters.
The official designated figure reports the number of cases approved from January 6 to January 24. The granting of a travel permit to a number of Cubans is not equivalent to a humanitarian parole, which is a benefit granted to enter the border.
An initiative of the Biden administration, implemented last January, discourages the flow of irregular immigration from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua with the delivery of at least 30,000 humanitarian parole visas.
Núñez-Neto reported that, since the entry into force of the humanitarian parole program, the number of immigrants from these four countries trying to reach the US territory through points on the Mexican border, and in particular he mentioned a significant drop in the arrival of Cubans. .
He recalled that the recently announced changes in the program could make it easier to grant application tests, by combining the system of random selection with a longer waiting period for the process of advancing applications, which should be done in a fairer way.
According to official data, 1.5 million requests for humanitarian aid with financial support are pending, of which more than 380,000 requests are from Cuban citizens. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (USCIS) processes about 1,000 cases for four nationalities every day, while the rate of applications reaches 12,000 every day.
DHS has implemented a parallel training program through CBP One digital application, which allows approximately 1,000 asylum applications with immigration authorities at the border.
“We don’t see many Cubans coming to the border without one CBP appointment, and we attribute that to the legal program,” the official said. “If anyone has crossed the border against the law, he will be subject to immediate repatriation.”
Although the numbers of Cubans coming through the southern border have experienced a substantial drop since January, the same is not the case with arrivals by sea, which rose up to 476 percent during the same period. In April alone, 5,929 Cubans entered South Florida.
Núñez-Neto recalled that the policy established by the administration implies “serious consequences” for all those who cross the border illegally, which also includes people arriving in maritime operations.
“We apply accelerated repatriation even for those who arrive by sea, and people will be prevented from receiving program benefits for at least the next five years, and they can also be prosecuted if they repeat the attempt,” he explained.
In relation to the Mexican border, Núñez-Neto announced a general reduction of 70 percent in the migratory flow after the suspension of the title 42 order of health, on May 11.
Of the 11,000 people who entered irregularly through checkpoints daily, apprehensions reported by Border Patrol agents now average about 3,600, he said.
“We have made a lot of progress in the last weeks and months to deal with immigration challenges at the borders, but we also recognize that it is too early to draw definitive conclusions or to predict what will happen in the following weeks,” he said. Núñez-Neto.
He recalled that this year more than 40,000 immigrants had been repatriated in more than 70 countries, and added that some 1,300 citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela had been returned to Mexico. The number of expelled nationals was not specified.
Núñez-Neto reiterated that Cuban deportation flights will continue in Havana, existing for those who do not comply with legal channels to remain in the United States.
“We have operated two repatriation flights to Cuba, one in April and the other in May, and we will continue to operate to return those who cannot establish themselves properly in the United States,” he explained.
Asked if the deportation flights of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) were ineligible for more than 42,000 Cubans to stay in the United States because of criminal records, Núñez-Neto said authorities would continue to send them as classified persons. transportable, following agreements between both countries.
Family Reunification Program
In reference to recent reports on modifications in the Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP), he said that the authorities are working to optimize the process and announces that an announcement will be made in the future.
“We are trying to make the process more efficient without requiring all the previous longitudinal steps, but I don’t want to rush the announcement, which will happen in a very short time,” he said.
Thousands of people are waiting to be processed under the CFRP, which was established in 2017, gradually began to complete interviews with the US Embassy in Havana, but still to a limited capacity.
In a statement released this week, the diplomatic headquarters in Havana advised that CFRP applicants may retain updated personal information.
“About this Homeland Security family reunification process for the citizens of Cuba and Haiti today, the embassy announced on Twitter, raising a wave of enthusiasm among the pending cases.