Saturday, February 4, 2023

US Embassy in Cuba resumes interviews for immigrant visas

Havana, 29 December. The US Embassy in Cuba resumed interviews in its consular section on Thursday as part of a reactivation of the process of granting immigrant visas, which has not taken place since 2017.

The appointments were originally scheduled for January 4, 2023 — the second and third holidays in Cuba for the anniversary of the Victory of the Revolution — but the legend decided to move the date to this Thursday.

The original announcement was made in the island’s capital in early November after a meeting between the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, Rayna Bitter, the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ur Mendoza Jaddou, and Cuba’s deputy minister. of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernandez de Cosio.

Months ago, Washington clarified that the visa provides a “safe and orderly” route to immigration for those eligible to apply.

“This change will also eliminate the need for Cubans to apply for immigrant visas in family preference categories to travel from Cuba to Georgetown, Guyana, for their interviews,” the US government said.

In parallel, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is increasing its staff in Havana to “effectively and efficiently” process and conduct interviews.

On September 1, the Embassy of the United States in Cuba began processing pending applications for the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP), suspended since 2017.

The program was initially launched in 2007 under the mandate of President George W. Bush (2001–2009) and provides a legal way for Americans and legal residents in the US to claim their family members within Cuban territory. Is.

The program was suspended ten years later by the Donald Trump administration (2017–2021).

The island and the US have shown some signs of rapprochement in recent months, particularly in dealing with immigration issues. The island’s government has reiterated that these are steps in the right direction, although it criticizes that they are “inadequate”.

The reinstatement of visa procedures comes amid an unprecedented migrant exodus to the US. A total of 224,607 Cubans arrived at the North American country’s southern border in the recently concluded fiscal year 2022.

Similarly, as of last October 1, the date the current fiscal year began, 3,370 islanders were detained in the waters of the Florida Straits, representing almost half of all arrests for this reason in the entire fiscal year. previous (6,182).

Nation World News Desk
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