Thousands of Cubans are stranded in towns and cities along U.S.-Mexico border following former U.S. President Barack Obama’s elimination of a policy granting asylum for Cuban immigrants fleeing the country.
CGTN’s Martin Markovits spoke with one Cuban woman facing an uncertain future.
Thousands of Cuban immigrants waiting to enter US from MexicoThousands of Cubans are stranded across towns and cities along the Mexican-U.S. border, hoping to enter the U.S. legally under a law granting asylum for Cuban immigrants fleeing the country. CGTN's Martin Markovits spoke with one Cuban woman facing an uncertain future.
Pregnant with her first child, Aylin Gari Cruz left her native Cuba dreaming of resettling in the U.S. Her plan was to take advantage of the “wet foot, dry foot policy,” a U.S. statue giving Cuban immigrants without visas legal status in the U.S. once they set foot on U.S. soil.
After enduring a brutal, five month journey, crossing seven national borders often in dangerous conditions, former U.S. President Barack Obama eliminated the statute, dashing Aylins’s hope to live in the United States.
“We traveled through the jungle, crossing rivers, having confrontations with illegal smugglers, receiving extortion threats from the police and authorities. And because a Democratic president decided to restore relations with Havana, they took away this policy without warning to us. And now were all stuck here,” she said.
The Obama administration’s move was expected after the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015. The change in policy has left hundreds of Cubans stranded in Mexican cities like Nuevo Laredo on the U.S.-Mexican border. Many of those trying to migrate are fleeing political persecution from the Cuban government.
The Mexican government and church groups have been providing medical services and giving food to those stranded as they wait for information from U.S. authorities on their immigration status.
Some Cubans are hoping that President Donald Trump will reinstate the policy, although that seems unlikely in light of his tough immigration stance.
After 22 years of enjoying special immigration status, some Cubans may now see their only option to reach the U.S. is to cross the border illegally like their Latin American neighbors.