The US grants 29,000 humanitarian permits to Cubans under a new sponsorship policy since January

The United States delivered 29,000 humanitarian travel permits to Cuban citizens from sponsors since a new policy began in January that authorized the use of this mechanism to try to bring order to the migratory flow of people from the island and after months with arrivals records of Cubans to the northern border of Mexico, an official reported.

“We have made a lot of progress in the last few weeks and months to deal with the migration challenge that we are seeing at our border,” said the acting Assistant Secretary for Border Policy and Immigration of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Blas Nuñez-Neto, during a video conference focused on the migratory situation of Cubans.

“But we also recognize that it is too soon to draw any definitive conclusions or predict what is going to happen in the coming weeks,” he said.

The official also pointed out that new provisions for family reunification will be announced in the coming weeks, a process that is long overdue for the island’s citizens after almost four years of semi-paralyzed consular services and that only began to normalize in recent months in through an increase in political tensions between Cuba and the United States.

Núñez-Neto indicated that globally there has been a slowdown in the number of people found on the border with Mexico since the elimination of title 42 on May 12 and after the entry conditions and sanctions for those who intend to cross illegally have been tightened.

The reduction in general would reach 70% and it went from 11,000 daily encounters with immigrants to about 4,000, the US official explained.

On January 5, the US authorities launched a program popularly called “parole” for travel permits for Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Cuban citizens, in which they had to apply before reaching the southern border and for which a person in the United States, it sponsored the migrant, which translated into work authorization for two years. At that time, they were assigned 30,000 monthly visas without specifying the amount per country.

Until the implementation of this policy, Cubans reached the border with Mexico -in many cases after having made a dangerous journey from Nicaragua, where they arrived without the need for a visa- and were allowed access to US territory. Their situation used to normalize a year later when they took advantage of the Adjustment Law, a regulation from the 60s that grants them benefits as political refugees.

Now in case of trying to enter without a pre-qualified permit, Cubans can be deported immediately.

Likewise, when spending a year in the United States with these “parole”, Cubans can apply for their residency thanks to the Adjustment Law, an opportunity that those of other nationalities do not have.

According to statistics from the United States border authorities, in the 2021-2022 fiscal year – which began in October 2021 and ended in September 2022 – officers had a record number of 224,000 encounters with Cuban migrants on the border with Mexico. In October 2022 there were 29,878; in November, 35,881 and in December, 44,064.

The Coast Guard also intercepted 6,182 Cubans trying to arrive by sea in the same reference fiscal year, to which 4,795 were added in the following three months.

The record migration coincided with the worsening of an economic crisis on the island and shortages of basic products, hand in hand with a tightening of US sanctions.

“We know very well that the conditions that cause the historic migration that we are seeing, not only at our borders, but throughout the Western Hemisphere, prevail and that coyotes and traffickers will continue to spread rumors to attract migrants,” Nuñez-Neto said. .