Miami, United States—
About 991 migrants from Cuba and Haiti have been returned to their countries in the past 10 days, the US Coast Guard reported, which also thwarted the illegal landing of another 237 raftsmen.
Of the migrants who returned between January 6 and 16, 907 were Cuban and 83 were Haitian. The latest repatriation operation was completed this Monday when the Coast Guard returned 84 rafts to Cuba, a statement said.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, it has intercepted 4,962 Cubans since October 1 to date, numbers that reflect an increase compared to the 6,182 for the full fiscal year 2022, which ended in September.
“The White House and the Department of Homeland Security announced new legal avenues to enter the United States,” said Commander Jorge Valente of Coast Guard District Seven. “We urge all individuals to use available safe and legal means to travel to the United States and not to go out to sea.”
The unusual arrival of hundreds of migrants in the first week of 2023 caused the closure of a nature park in South Florida. Authorities in the Florida Keys said they were overwhelmed and lacked the resources to care for so many people.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the State National Guard to help deal with the huge influx of migrants, in a move criticized by the White House who called it a “political maneuver”.
Cuban migrant arrivals increased in 2022 due to the Aggravation of the political and economic crisis on the island.
In the past financial year acc Data by the Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a record 224,607 Cubans attempting to enter US territory, a number that exceeds those registered together during the Mariel Exodus in 1980 and the Rafter Crisis in 1994.
On Jan. 5, President Joe Biden announced the extension of “humanitarian parole” to Nicaraguans, Cubans and Haitians, which they had already applied for Venezuelans, which combines the issuance of a temporary U.S. entry and work permit quota with the restriction of irregular entries.
“Don’t come to the border, stay where you are,” Biden urged migrants from these four countries, especially Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which have the most arrests on the border with Mexico.
Activists, migrants and officials from international organizations have criticized the new measure, with the argument that it violates the principles of asylum.
This was announced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk Voice of America that while welcoming the US intention to encourage safe and legal migration, he fears that this new border policy will undermine the fundamental foundations of human rights and refugee law.
According to data collected by officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the southern border of the United States, between January 6 and 7, about 531 Cubans were deported to Mexico and 141 Nicaraguans, reported UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo from Geneva.
“We know the humanitarian situation at the border is serious,” Mantoo acknowledged, adding that they are helping migrants who arrive “desperate and disoriented” in “overcrowded” shelters on Mexican territory, where they are already working to ” to expand the reception capacity with infrastructure and relief.”
The US Supreme Court keeps Title 42 in effecta health measure used by former President Donald Trump’s administration, which allows the deportation to Mexico of asylum seekers who arrive at the border.
“UNHCR and its partners provide protection, advice and guidance to people who have been returned to Mexico under Title 42 on their opportunities to access protection. However, the current demand exceeds the available capacities,” emphasized the spokesman.
[Con colaboración de Celia Mendoza, reportera de la VOA, desde Nueva York]
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