14ymedio, Mario Penton, Chiapas, 20 January 2017 — The Mexican National Institute of Migration (INM) issued a press release Friday stating that 91 Cubans had been repatriated to the island after the end of the wet foot/dry foot policy that would have allowed them to obtain asylum on reaching the United States.
“In compliance with the provisions of the Law of Migration, 91 foreigners of Cuban origin were sent this morning, from the airport of Tapachula, Chiapas, to their country, after Cuban authorities granted them recognition of their nationality*,” explains the press release.
The group was composed of 20 women and 71 men who, according to the INM, were waiting for the departure office to allow them to reach the US border.
González fears that on his return, life in Havana, where he is from, will become “a hell”
Yadel Gonzalez Sagre is one of those Cubans. He had been interned in Tapachula for 19 days, waiting for the document to continue to the United States, but in the early hours of this Friday he was forcibly removed from the “21st Century Immigration Station.”
“Suddenly they told us that they were going to deport us and they took us all out of there. It was terrible, they beat us and threatened us. Then they shoved us into vans and from there we were taken directly to the airport and they have been sending us on airplanes in small groups,” he says through the app Messenger.
González fears that on his return, life in Havana, where he is from, will become “a hell.”
“We live in a country with no rights,” he says.
According to the INM, the 91 Cubans “were returned to their country of origin in a plane belonging to the Federal Police.” However, both González and other Cuban migrants claim that they have been transferred in civilian aircraft, which could indicate an even greater number of returnees.
Since the end of the policy dry feet / wet feet, hundreds of Cubans have been stranded in Mexico when they tried to reach the United States
The INM notes that the departure office, provided for in the Migration Law, “is a facilitation measure that is provided to foreigners who do not have their nationality recognized by the authorities of their countries. It gives them permission to travel legally in the national territory for 20 days so that they can [have time to] regularize their migratory situation in Mexico or leave the country.”
In the case of Cubans, the consulate general of that country agreed to recognize the nationality of 91 of its citizens, applied for by the Mexican immigration authority to facilitate the return.
Since the end of the wet foot/dry foot policy, hundreds of Cubans have been stranded in Mexico when they tried to reach the United States. According to unofficial data, there are 300 Cubans at the “21st Century Migration Station” in Chiapas in southern Mexico and several hundred more in the cities bordering the United States.
*Translator’s note: Cuba refuses to automatically recognize the Cuban nationally of people who leave the country illegally.