A group of Cubans who were seeking to enter the United States under its “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy was left stranded in Mexico because former President Barack Obama ended the arrangement just before leaving office in January.
Mexican officials said on Friday that the country will allow 588 Cubans who were stranded in a Mexican border city to apply for political asylum.
Previously, Cubans came to the U.S. by the thousands, without visas, and were allowed entry. However, those who showed up on the Mexican border after January 12 were turned away.
According to Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM), the group of Cubans has been waiting in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, which is located on the border of the United States, opposite Laredo, Texas.
“INM has done everything to allow this group of foreigners of Cuban origin to obtain their residency in the country for humanitarian reasons,” said the institute.
“The permit will initially be granted to 273 Cubans who will also be allowed to work,” according to the INM, which noted that none of the Cubans had obtained refugee status or political asylum.
According to a report in the Miami Herald, “Cubans may still seek political asylum in the United States but are now detained upon arrival while their request is processed. So many have preferred to wait to see if the U.S. government implements new measures or whether they can legalize their status in Mexico. The first has not happened and there is no indication that the Trump administration, which has taken a tough stance against illegal immigration, will consider doing so in the future. The second has been complicated by a deportation agreement Mexico signed in May with Cuba.”
Before the U.S. policy changed, the Cuban government had been slow to recognize the nationality of citizens detained in Mexico, which is a requirement for deportation to occur. So, Cuban migrants applied for permits that would allow them to travel across Mexico legally in order to reach the United States.
Now, Cuba is recognizing nationality faster, and deportations from Mexico have increased.
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