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Cuban Migrants In Texas Arriving At Record Rates Amid Resumption Of Diplomatic Relations With US

Immigration Reform 2015: Cuban Migrants In Texas Arriving At Record
Rates Amid Resumption Of Diplomatic Relations With US
By Bruce Wright @bctw on September 10 2015 1:08 PM EDT

Texas is on pace this year to set a new record for the number of Cubans
trying to enter the United States through the Lone Star State, with
about 60 percent more migrants from the island nation making the trip in
2015 compared to one year before, according to a new report. The
resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S and Cuba is likely
the reason why an exponentially higher number of Cubans have attempted
to cross the border in Texas, one expert on immigration said.

“We’re seeing a surge that started with the announcement of normalized
relations last year, and there is a longer-term trend of people coming
to Mexico rather than risking the sea voyage because [Mexico] is a more
reliable way to go,” Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S.
Immigration Policy program at the Migration Policy Institute, a think
tank based in Washington, D.C., told the Texas Tribune.

An estimated 18,520 Cubans tried to enter the U.S. through Texas from
October 2014 to June 2015, according to statistics provided by U.S.
Customs and Border Protection, the Tribune reported. The number exceeds
that of unaccompanied migrant children from Central America who were
taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol during roughly the same time
period.

If the rate of Cubans trying to enter the U.S. through Texas keeps up at
the current pace, nearly 25,000 Cubans will have arrived on American
soil during this fiscal year. For perspective, about 15,600 Cubans
sought entry in the U.S. through Texas in 2014, and 12,445 in 2013, the
Tribune reported. About 20,000 visas are guaranteed to be issued to
Cubans annually, with 40,000 nonimmigrant temporary visas also made
available for them, according to a report from Al Jazeera.

However, a spokesperson for U.S. Border Patrol said the thawing of
relations between Cuba and the U.S. was actually not the cause of the
massive influx.

“Normally, if a Cuban national arriving at a Customs & Border Protection
(CBP) port of entry or between ports expresses fear of return to Cuba or
their country of last residence, he or she is inspected and may qualify
for parole into the U.S.,” Rick Pauza wrote to the Tribune in an email.
“CBP Officers and Agents will first verify the individuals’ citizenship,
identity and whether they have prior criminal or U.S. immigration
history. After one year in the U.S., the Cuban national may be eligible
under the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966 to apply for lawful
permanent residence.”

Texas is not the only place Cubans have been choosing as a point of U.S.
entry. Florida has remained a popular location considering the close
proximity to the island nation. A group of Cuban migrants was discovered
Wednesday by the U.S. Coast Guard near Key Biscayne, Florida. Other U.S.
sites that continue to draw Cuban migrants include San Diego and Tuscon,
Arizona.

Source: Immigration Reform 2015: Cuban Migrants In Texas Arriving At
Record Rates Amid Resumption Of Diplomatic Relations With US –
http://www.ibtimes.com/immigration-reform-2015-cuban-migrants-texas-arriving-record-rates-amid-resumption-2091435

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