14ymedio, Havana, 12 January 2023 — On January 5, Yanisey González managed to reach the United States. The American dream that he seemed to have achieved was cut short when the Border Patrol put him in a van along with migrants from Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guatemala to return them to the border with Mexico and deliver them to agents of the National Institute of Migration (INM). “They didn’t give me the option to apply for asylum,” he tells 14ymedio.
“They gave me a document with a code,” said a 27-year-old girl; the Border Patrol officer said it was her pass to the parole. “I must scan it and do the procedure from Mexico to apply for a temporary residence permit.”
Yanisey was taken to Hermosillo (Sonora), a place where she thought she would be deported. Last Friday, Ana Gabriela Guevara entered the Gymnasium, which since October 2022 was set up as a shelter for migrants. There are more than 200 Cubans on this site.
The young woman, originally from Pinar del Río, made the journey together with her cousin and a friend, but they were arrested in Veracruz and deported. “I’m not going back to Cuba. There, if you go out into the streets, they hit you with a stick and even put you in jail. Yes, there are blackouts, there are no medicines, they reduce your ration book… for the Government everything is the fault of the blockade [i.e. US embargo].”
Daniel, another Cuban who is in the shelter, left the Island along the Nicaraguan route. “We made a stopover in Panama before Managua, but out of the whole journey, Mexico has been the worst nightmare. The agents extort you with the threat of deportation. You have to pay for all the paperwork. The coyotes are everywhere.”
This habanero is accompanied by his cousin and an uncle. They all returned from the border of Piedras Negras (Coahuila). “When we arrived in Sonora, we were informed that we must now do the procedure from Mexico and that if we insist on crossing, they will deny us the parole for five years.”
A source who preferred not to disclose his name confirmed that there are 221 people in the gym hostel and that another group with 150 migrants is expected to arrive this Thursday.
The director of Attention to Priority Groups and Migrants, Bernardeth Ruiz Romero, explained that Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans are provided with health services, and as the number of returnees increases, they will be taken to other shelters. “We are providing the relevant humanitarian attention: a roof over their heads, legal guidance, and we have even promoted some days with Migration.”
The governor of Sonora, Alfonso Durazo, announced the possibility of employing migrants, without detailing conditions and salaries. “If they want, we would seek to accommodate them at work and help them on their return, with resources from the state government or under the protection of federal programs for their return by air to their countries of origin.
Last week, the Border Patrol began the return of Cubans and Nicaraguans to Mexico. The expulsion of these migrants who are in Hermosillo took place under Title 42, a controversial regulation implemented by the previous president, Donald Trump, during the pandemic, which allows for rapid deportations.
The Government of Mexico supports the Joe Biden Administration’s program through which, in exchange for 30,000 monthly paroles, the United States will deport Cubans and others in an illegal situation.
In the state of Chiapas, several Cubans, Venezuelans, Haitians and Guatemalans protested this Thursday for attention to their transit demands. Migration let them know that the United States would return them if they entered illegally.
Despite the announcement of the closure of the border between the United States and Mexico, the crossing of Cubans continues along the Nicaraguan route.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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