Cuba Illegal Exit
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Record Number of Cubans Crossing the Mexican Border to USA

Record Number of Cubans Crossing the Mexican Border to USA
August 11, 2014
Wilfredo Cancio Isla (Cafe Fuerte)

HAVANA TIMES — More than 14,000 Cubans crossed the Mexican border into
the United States in the 2014 fiscal year, setting a historical record
for the illegal inflow of Cuban citizens through US immigration control
points.

Statistics made available to CafeFuerte by the Customs and Border
Protection Department indicate that, as of July 21 this year, a total of
20,522 people of Cuban nationality had arrived in the United States
through border points, 13,911 of them through the Mexican border.

The data points to a notable rise in the number of Cuban immigrants,
with figures from the two last months of the current fiscal year (which
ends on September 30) still to come.

Unstoppable Growth

In 2013, the figures rose by 40%, with over 16,000 people invoking the
Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) to request asylum at different border points,
13,664 at the Mexican border.

This has been a particularly tense and busy time for US immigration
dealing with thousands of Central American children without any means of
identification. Meanwhile Cubans continue to request asylum before the
authorities, invoking the special migratory prerogatives that apply to them.

Some 89,000 Cubans have entered the United States through the Mexican
border alone since 2005.

The number of Cubans requesting asylum hasn’t only skyrocketed at the
Mexican border. Other border control points in the northern United
States, such as the Buffalo-Niagara Falls crossing and Champlain-Rouses
Point, in New York, are beginning to see greater and greater numbers of
Cubans produce a piece of identification and invoke the Cuban Adjustment
Act.

The figures analyzed encompass 121 border control points, immigration
posts and airports, but do not include the 56,410 Cubans whose entry
into the country is registered at the Miami International Airport. These
statistics include all travelers that receive an I-94 form (those who
arrive with an immigration permit and those who enter the country as
visitors for family or work-related reasons, holding a B1 or B2 visas),
but they do not specify the number of Cubans who request asylum after
setting foot on US soil.

The Cuban-Spanish Avalanche

The number of Cubans with Spanish nationality who request asylum under
the Cuban Adjustment Act upon arrival at the Miami airport has increased
considerably over the past three years. Travelers with Spanish passports
or passports from EU countries do not require a visa to enter the United
States, only a document or waiver secured through the Electronic System
for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

More than 180 thousand Cubans have become naturalized Spanish citizens
under the Historical Memory Law, also known as the Grandchildren’s Law,
which came into effect in December of 2008. Many of the so-called
cubañoles (Cuban-Spaniards) have used their newly-acquired citizenship
as springboard to travel without visa requirements and settle in the
United States.

Though Cubans holding Spanish passports are being granted entrance as an
asylum seeker at the Miami airport almost automatically, the process
depends on the immigration official.

The porosity of border check points for illegal Cuban immigration
constitutes an incentive for thousands of people who are now able to
travel to third countries, thanks to the migratory reforms that the Raul
Castro government made effective in January of 2013.

Dangerous Journeys

Border crossings and requests for asylum at US airports by Cubans has
been spiraling out of control ever since.

A high number of refugees arriving in the United States are Cubans who
travel through Central American countries. They arrive in these
countries by sea and later cross the Mexican border. The Cayman Islands
have recently become a transit point for vessels carrying Cuban migrants
and the stage of violent incidents, in which those detained in the high
seas refuse to be repatriated. Others undertake dangerous journeys from
South America, chiefly Ecuador.

Cubans have continued to attempt crossing the Strait of Florida on rafts
or speedboats, but more rigorous monitoring by the Coast Guard Service
has reduced the number of people attempting to reach US coasts this way
significantly. So far this year, 1,561 Cubans have been intercepted out
at sea and repatriated – the largest number registered since 2008.

The United States issues some 20 thousand traveler visas to Cubans every
year and the average number of people visiting the country for
family-related, cultural and other matters was over 26 thousand in 2013.
A high number of these visas are valid for a five year period.

No measure, however, appears sufficient to put an end to the Cuban exodus.

CUBAN IMMIGRATION DATA BY BORDER CONTROL POINTS (2005-2014)

2005- 11,524 (7,267 through the Mexican border)
2006- 13,405 (8,639)
2007- 13,840 (9,566)
2008- 11,146 (10,030)
2009- 7,803 (5,893)
2010- 6,286 (5,570)
2011- 7,051 (5,973)
2012- 9,191 (8,273)
2013- 16,184 (13,664)
2014- 20,522 (13,911)*

*As of July 21, 2014.

Source: Record Number of Cubans Crossing the Mexican Border to USA –
Havana Times.org – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=105447

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