Thousands of Stranded Migrants from Cuba Allowed to Enter U.S.
By Staff Writer
Around 8,000 migrants from Cuba that was stranded in Costa Rica for weeks are finally allowed to enter U.S. after an agreement is reached between Central American nations group and Mexico.
According to Voice of America the current crisis began when this group of migrants traveled from Cuba to Ecuador through Colombia and Panama and into Costa Rica where they have been blocked by Nicaragua. The crisis has raised tension between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Both countries are the member of SICA (Central American Integration System), the economic and political cooperation between eight Central American states: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica. Panama, Belize and Dominican Republic. In order to handle the crisis, members of SICA and Mexico arranged a meeting in Guatemala City to find a solution. They reached an agreement to fly the stranded Cubans to El Salvador, where they will continue journey to U.S. by buses through Guatemala and Mexico.
The increasing number of Cuban immigrants flooding United States has been increased since the diplomatic relations between U.S. and Cuba was restored in December 2014. U.S. policy allows Cuban migrants who arrive on land, known as "dry-foot migrant" to enter the country and apply for residency. While those intercepted at sea, nicknamed "wet-foot migrants" are sent back to Cuba.
A recent report from Pew Research Center shows that more than 43,000 Cubans entered the United States at ports of entry in the 2015 fiscal year. The report was compiled based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shown a 78% increase over the previous year.
Deputy director of U.S. immigration policy program at the Migration Policy Institute, Marc Rosenblum told CNN that there are many factors that igniting the spike. One major factor is the fear that preferential treatment to Cubans entering U.S. will change. "There is this concern that Cuba special privileges will be eliminated, so Cubans are trying to get out while the getting's good," he said.
U.S. law also granted a special privileges to Cubans coming to the United States. Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 presumed that all Cubans fleeing the country as refugees are seeking political asylum. "Even if they arrive illegally, they are admitted into the United States, and after a year and a day they are granted a green card." Rosenblum added.
Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Manuel Gonzalez said on Monday, the immigrant will be flown to El Salvador starting next week. However, AFP reported that the minister said there is a pushed back because of logistical problems and stressed that the number of Cubans and the date for their departure were still tentative.
Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez said that U.S. migration policy for Cuban migrants must change. Otherwise, there will be more Cuban migrants trying to enter United States through Central American countries.