The United States and Mexico Discuss a Refugee Program That Could Benefit Cubans

The United States could benefit Cubans and other migrants with a shelter program. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico City, 2 July 2023 — The United States might extend the legal avenues for migration to Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans. The plan, according to Reuters, will allow people who meet the requirements to obtain refugee status to do so through the U.S. “refugee resettlement” program that is only available to applicants from abroad.

Unlike those migrants who apply for asylum after arriving in the United States under the condition of “refugees,” with this variant people receive authorization to enter the country, obtain work immediately and receive benefits such as housing and employment aid. Another benefit is that they can apply for permanent residence within a year, which offers more stability than other options.

Four officials confirmed that the governments of the United States and Mexico are discussing the plan. This program will be available to those migrants who prove that they suffer “persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership of a certain social group or political opinion.”

In April, the Biden government said it intended to admit 40,000 refugees between 2023 and 2024. As of May 31, about 3,400 had arrived, which shows that the pace would have to accelerate a lot to reach the goal.

In order to be eligible for the program, people have to prove that they were in Mexico before June 6. A source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who remained anonymous, confirmed to 14ymedio that there have been several meetings between the two governments on the migration issue, but specified that “so far no agreement has been reached.”

Since January, the US government of Joe Biden implemented the humanitarian parole program. Despite the flood of applications and the difficulties in getting an appointment, as of May, 29,000 Cubans have benefited. The figure was given by Blas Nuñez-Neto, Acting Undersecretary of Border Policy and Immigration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who also announced that there will soon be new provisions for the family reunification process.

In Mexico, the official of the foreign ministry pointed out that applications for refuge increased by almost 30% in the first quarter of 2023, to a record 37,606, according to the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance. In the figures published in May, there are 4,215 natives from the Island who have joined this program.

The coordinator of the Jesuit and Refugee Service, Karen Martínez, established that Chiapas is the southern state of Mexico with the highest reception of refugee applications, pointing out that in Tapachula there are about 26,000 foreigners this year and, of that number, 40% are refugees.

Chery Agnes, a migrant from Haiti, joined this day of peaceful mobilization against discrimination. This woman was a soccer player in her country, and her dream is to continue playing this sport where she is given an opportunity.

“I like everything, I’m a soccer player and I work with my body because I’m a model,” she told EFE. “I am a lesbian and am a very peaceful person, and I am here to show that we have rights,” she added.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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