The United States and Mexico Take Measures To Reduce the Flow of Cuban Migrants

A group of migrants in the La Tierra de Oro shelter, in Ciudad Juárez (Chihuahua). (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, 15 May 2023 — Mexico and the United States tightened their migratory measures to reduce the flow of Cubans before the end of Title 42. Since last Friday, the Mexican National Institute of Migration (INM) — denounced for acts of extortion, threats of deportation and violation of human rights — stopped granting “safe conduct passes that allow free transit through the country.”

Through a statement, the Government of Mexico also reported the “closure of 33 migratory way stations at the national level,” places in which several Cubans have been detained despite having refugee status or having residence permits issued by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar).

At the beginning of May, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) ordered Migration to repair the damage caused to a family of four Cubans that it deported in November 2022 without verifying the legality of their documents.

Several groups of activists and defenders of the rights of migrants warned that mass arrests can become human rights violations by not having a place to provide accommodation for foreigners.

Paris Lezama, director of El Pozo de Vida, an organization against human trafficking, and a member of the Board of Directors of Esperanza Migrante, pointed out that behind this measure is the “return to having a policy of migratory containment,” so that these people “do not reach the border” of Mexico with the United States.

The independent senator and government opponent, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, warned that if Mexico does not attend to the “thousands of migrants” that the United States is returning, “a humanitarian crisis will break out with problems of hunger, health and security.”

One day before the elimination of Title 42 in the United States on May 11, the Customs and Border Protection Office arrested 11,126 migrants at the border, while on the Mexican side Migration reported the ’rescue’ (arrest) of 5,499 irregular foreigners.

Migrant families wait for the response to their CBP One request in Chihuahua. (EFE)

Last Thursday, Mexico accepted the return of 17 Cubans, 909 Venezuelans, 15 Guatemalans and one Haitian. That day, almost 30,000 migrants were waiting in the border states to cross the Rio Grande, and others waited for a response to their requests of CBP One [Customs and Border Protection] to present themselves for asylum appointments on US territory.

Also, the US Government reiterated this Sunday to the Cuban and Haitian rafters that if they are arrested on the high seas, “they will be disqualified from humanitarian parole processes” in an “indefinite” way.

The US Department of Homeland Security confirmed the deportation on Monday of thousands of migrants to a dozen countries, including Cuba, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, with the new immigration policy established after the lifting of Title 42.

After the end of the COVID-19 health emergency last Thursday night, the United States stopped applying Title 42, which allowed the immediate expulsion of undocumented migrants under the pretext of the emergency but instituted other restrictions on asylum applications at the border, and began deportation through another regulation known as Title 8.

Unlike Title 42, Title 8 does allow migrants to request asylum when they arrive at the border, but they have to meet several requirements, including having applied for that condition in the countries through which they passed, or else they can be deported quickly.

Irregular crossings at the border have been reduced in the last three days by about 50%, from 10,000 per day to 5,000, according to National Security data.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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