In the First Six Months of 2021 More Cubans Arrived in Mexico than in the Entire Previous Year

Cuba continues in third place by country, only surpassed by Honduras (26,557) and Haiti (13,255). (New Digital Life)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Lorey Saman, Mexico, August 4, 2021 — Refugee applications by Cubans in Mexico continue to grow strongly and already exceed last year’s figures. In the first six months of 2021, there were 6,446 petitions, compared to 5,778 during all of 2020.

According to the latest statistics published by the National Refugees Commission of Mexico (COMAR), Cuba continues in third place by country, only surpassed by Honduras (26,557) and Haiti (13,255), and  followed by nationals from El Salvador, with 4,402 requests, and in fifth place by Venezuelans, with 3,558.

In the last eight years, 3,361 Cubans have been granted asylum, with a considerable increase in recent months. In the first six months of 2021 alone, 1,739 were approved. Thousands of Cuban nationals who initiate the procedure with COMAR don’t finish it, since their objective is to obtain a humanitarian visa to be able to transit through the country toward the northern border, cross into the United States, and request asylum there.

In any case, every day the number of Cubans who decide to live in Mexico grows. The latest report from the National Migration Institute (INM) indicates that between January and June, 10,995 processed their legal stay in the country or renewed their residence.

In the last six months of 2020, the 8,258 Cubans who applied at the Migration offices were surpassed only by 14,344 from Venezuela and 9,472 from Colombia.

On the southern border, due to the increase in the migratory flow, delays in refugee processing have been reported. In mid-July and following the announcement made by the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to provide humanitarian aid to the Island, Cubans stranded in Tapachula requested that their immigration applications be expedited and that they be granted humanitarian visas.

“The action of the Mexican government to help Cuba is very good, but I think it should start with the thousands of Cubans who are stranded on the southern border without a document to continue on or to remain legally in Mexico,” Carlos Quesada, a Cuban, told a reporter for the El Heraldo Chiapas newspaper.

Another Cuban migrant, Imarais Restrepo, told the paper that she has been in Chiapas for two years and was denied political asylum, but is again trying to obtain it. She also asked the Mexican president for his intervention to speed up the procedures: “I think it will now be easier to obtain our documents in order for us to have more peace of mind in this country.”

On the other hand, on the border with the United States the irregular entry of immigrants is complicated. The Biden Administration officially resumed rapid deportations last Friday by sending undocumented immigrants by air to their countries of origin in Central America.

The Department of Homeland Security reported that the “expedited removal process is a legal means of safely managing our border, and is a step toward our broader goal of safe and orderly immigration processing.”

A day earlier, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced a strategy to address migration from Central America, which, in addition to combating corruption and violence in the region, has the support of other governments and U.S. companies.

The plan focuses on Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, countries that make up the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America, where the largest flow of migrants seeking to reach U.S. soil comes from. Harris admitted that her country’s commitment “has often been inconsistent” and in recent years engagement in the region had been “significantly pulled back.”

Meanwhile, immigrants who manage to enter the United States illegally could be vaccinated against Covid-19. As reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, the government is studying immunization only for those temporarily in the custody of the U.S. authorities.

Translated by Tomás A.


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