• Cielo Vista

US, Cuba discuss human trafficking as migrant numbers surge

February 5, 2016

MIAMI — The United States and Cuba held talks this week on human smuggling amid a surge in Cuban immigrants trying to reach the United States, the State Department said on Friday.

The “technical talks,” which took place from Feb. 1 to Feb. 4 in Miami, were announced only after they were wrapped up.

The delegations exchanged “information and best practices related to combating human smuggling and travel document fraud, which is important to advancing both countries’ commitment to ensuring safe, legal, and orderly migration,” the State Department said in a statement.

The number of Cubans trying to reach the United States has skyrocketed in recent months, with thousands traveling through Central America in their bid to reach the U.S. border, creating enormous strains in the region.

On Friday, the government of Costa Rica said it would begin flying Cuban migrants marooned in that country directly to Mexico. Two groups of some 180 Cuban migrants each — out of an estimated 8,000 in Costa Rica — have thus far departed by plane to El Salvador to continue their journey to the U.S. The flights, along with bus transportation to Mexico, were part of a breakthrough agreement reached among Latin American countries in December to resolve the migrant crisis.

The State Department said it was concerned for the safety of “all migrants” in the region attempting to enter other countries without a visa or other authorization.

“These dangerous journeys illustrate the inherent risks and uncertainties of involvement with smugglers and organized crime in attempts to reach the United States illegally,” the statement said.

See also: Why some Cuban migrants aren’t trying their chances with smugglers

More than 43,000 Cubans arrived in the United States by sea and land during fiscal year 2015, which ended in September, a level not seen in decades.

The exodus is thought to have been prompted by fears that the thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations will end the American policy of automatically accepting Cuban migrants as refugees.

Under U.S. law, Cubans fleeing their communist-ruled island are admitted and given access to fast-track American residency, a policy extended to no other nationality.

Before the recent spike, Washington stressed that it did not plan any change in the legislation governing Cuban migrants despite the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Havana in July after half a century.

The topic of relations with Washington’s former Cold War enemy remains controversial in Miami — home to half the two million strong Cuban diaspora in the United States — although less so than in previous decades.

The two countries have held several meetings on topics including anti-drug cooperation, transnational crime and the environment since they announced their historic thaw in December 2014.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Fishing for freight trains
Fishing
64 views
Fishing
64 views

Fishing for freight trains

Todd Staley - June 18, 2019

In my youth, I loved rock music.  Led Zepplin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and the likes were at the…

Costa Rica recognizes ‘sacrifice and dignity’ of freed journalist Lucía Pineda Ubáu
Costa Rica
94 views
Costa Rica
94 views

Costa Rica recognizes ‘sacrifice and dignity’ of freed journalist Lucía Pineda Ubáu

Martha Vásquez Larios / La Prensa - June 17, 2019

The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Manuel Ventura Robles, acknowledged the work and sacrifice of journalist Lucía Pineda Ubáu, who…

Costa Rica will host RightsCon 2020
Costa Rica
115 views
Costa Rica
115 views

Costa Rica will host RightsCon 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 17, 2019

Costa Rica will host the 2020 convention of RightsCon, which calls itself "the world's leading event on human rights in…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!