Miami ( Associated Press) – For years after leaving Cuba, a mother of two tried to smuggle her children and parents into the United States.
Finally, she decided not to wait any longer and paid more than $ 40,000 for someone to sneak into Mexico.
For myself, it ‘s enough. “I risk everything,” the 30-year-old told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because she feared retaliation from US officials.
Her family history is an example of how tens of thousands of Cuban refugees want to escape political and economic crisis. They are arriving in the United States at greater risk and illegally. This is in stark contrast to the situation in which Cubans received special protection that other refugees did not have.
Her children and parents made a 20-day flight from Havana to Managua, Nicaragua. From there, they passed through Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, taking buses, vans, and taxis to the US-Mexico border.
“I saw other people coming across the border and they were happy and I did things legally and I was still looking after my children,” she said.
U.S. border officials met with Cubans about 32,400 times in March, according to Monday. That was approximately twice as many as in February and five times as much as in October.
The increase coincides with Nicaragua’s decision to suspend Cuban visas to promote tourism in November, after other countries, such as Panama and the Dominican Republic, began ordering them.
After a flight to Nicaragua, Cubans travel by land to the far-flung US border with Mexico – mainly in Yuma, Arizona and del Rio, Texas – and generally surrender to border guards.
Biden’s administration is relying on other governments to keep refugees out of the United States. Nicaragua’s US opponent complicated the effort.
Cuban and US officials meet in Washington on Thursday for immigration talks. – The first in four years.
US Customs and Border Protection has suspended Cuba more than 79,800 times between October and March – more than double by 2021 and five times higher than by 2020. In all, border guards detained refugees of all nationalities more than 209,000 times in March. Monthly sign in 22 years.
Cubans who illegally cross the border into the United States are less likely to be deported or deported under public health law, denying asylum to thousands of other ethnic groups as a result of the reduction in the distribution of CV-19.
In March, about 500 Cubans stood up, or about 2%, under the authority of the Public Health Act. Biden Management Title 42 plans to resign on May 23.
George Duani, director of the Cuban Research Institute at the University of Florida International, and other experts estimate that more than 124,700 Cubans will leave the island, including the Marilit Lights, which arrived in the United States in 1980.
“There are a number of interrelated reasons for the intensification of the Cuban migration,” Dunney said.
First Cuba is in the grip of the worst economic crisis in decades as a result of the Covenant-19 epidemic and US sanctions.
High street protests He also played a role in the July 11, 2021, and government response. NGOs say more than 1,400 people have been arrested and sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for crimes or violence.
Havana did not say how many Cubans had been released, but said the United States was “leading the way” and offering “encouraging benefits”.
“What hurts? Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel said earlier this month that there were young people who realized that their future could not be developed and that they should emigrate. “In another world, there are people who want to prove themselves, who want to show that they are inseparable from their country, who want to improve a little and then go back.”
The Cuban family is tired of waiting.
The 30-year-old tried to bring her family to the United States legally. He arrived on the porch of Florida in 2016. Cubans can stay in the United States if they arrive in the United States under the “wet feet, dry feet” policy. But if they were caught at sea, they would return.
Former President Barack Obama ended that policy in 2017 and applied for asylum for her children next year.
She used to send $ 500 a month to her family for medicine and food, as well as boxes of clothing and other items, from her home in Tampa Florida.
She eventually decided to pay $ 11,000 to each relative for her traffickers – her two children, ages 8 and 10, and her mother and father.
Before her parents started traveling with both children, they sold everything, including their home and furniture, explained the single mother.
In Managua, he met 200 other refugees – Cubans, Haitians, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans – at a hotel.
“On the same day, they start with cars, trucks, or any other type of vehicle. In one night, they entered more than 10 different cars, ”she said.
Twenty days later, they arrived in Mexico, crossed the Colorado River at night, and were escorted by border guards to Yuma, Arizona.
They are separated. Grandparents aged 45 and 62 released in two days; The woman said their grandchildren were detained for 11 days.
A Cuban man who feared for his life
Other Cubans say they left because they felt persecuted.
Ariel, 24, had a blood test in a laboratory at a hospital in Cenfugos, south of Cuba. During the outbreak, he led a protest demanding masks, gowns and pesticides and criticized the government on Facebook for lack of medical supplies.
He told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that he had decided to leave after being threatened and beaten in November. His mother and 14-year-old sister in Cuba are seeking revenge, and he is asking for his name.
Ariel recalls that the trip was a “nightmare” but that he was willing to do whatever it took to leave Cuba.
With the help of her aunt in Florida, she traveled to Mexico and paid $ 300 to cross the Colorado River.
He said about 100 refugees, some 90 Cubans, had boarded a truck in the middle of the night.
The river was calm but deep. Water covered his waist. A Cuban mother carried her baby on her shoulders and helped her.
The smuggler directed them to the place where the border guards would take them.
They spent two days in a refugee camp with 1,000 people, eating bread and canned food. “It looks like a prison,” Ariel said.
After his release, he called his aunt to find out if he was ready to fly to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Living in America
Many Cubans who have crossed the border feel that they are now in a dilemma.
“The most difficult situation is not here when he crosses the border,” said Dr. Raul Gonzalez, a Cuban-American newcomer who has a clinic that helps him get help for a few months. “They’re just here.”
It may take some time for asylum seekers to obtain a work permit.
At the Gonzalez Clinic, Cubans lined up for one of the 20 appointments each day.
“They are suffering,” he said. “Many would say, ‘Don’t give me food stamps, I’d rather they let me work.'”