U.S. immigration crackdown blocks would-be migrants from Cuba

World Today

Cubans who want to come to the United States have traditionally found it easy to do. But, with U.S.-Cuba relations now on shaky ground, the fate of Cuban migrants is less certain.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports that the lives of thousands are in limbo.

Hismel Garcia came to the US from Cuba 15 years ago. Now, as a U.S. citizen, he struggles to understand why the Trump administration is withholding a visa for his brother. Hismel says they’ve followed all the rules.

“On August 7, 2017, we went to the interview in Havana, Cuba, and we got accepted,” he said. “They got the paperwork, the passport from my brother, my nephews. They said come back in fifteen days and you can get the visa and it’s been two years, almost three years and we have no reply back.”

More than 20,000 Cubans, with relatives in the U.S. like Hismel, are waiting to immigrate through a family reunification program that was suspended in 2017. That’s when the U.S. State Department partially shut down its Cuba Interests Section, following alleged health attacks on US diplomats.

“When you call, they say we have nothing yet,” Hismel said. “You need to keep waiting for the Cuba Reunification Parole. We don’t have any answers yet.”

Miami Attorney Ralip Hernandez said that she has at least 60 pending Cuban reunification cases.

“They are desperate,” Hernandez said. “They call me every day. I don’t have any answers to give them. Basically I have to tell them that the program is pending, that they are not working on the program right now and that we don’t know when there’s going to be reopened.”

Hernandez has a theory about why the program is on hold.

“They are not working on the program because they want to limit the applications under the Cuban Adjustment Act, as well,” Hernandez said.

The Cuban Adjustment Act allows Cubans to be granted permanent residency, or a Green Card, after a year and a day of residence in the United States.