Mexico and the Bahamas return 78 irregular migrants to Cuba

The immigration authorities of Mexico and the Bahamas returned 78 Cuban migrants who intended to reach the United States, in the second operation of this type in the week, local media reported this Saturday.

The 53 men and 25 women arrived at the José Martí International Airport in Havana and 7 of them left the country illegally by sea, the Cuban News Agency reported.

With the new group, there are already 773 Cuban migrants returned so far this year, mostly from Mexico, the United States, and the Bahamas, according to official data.

The last of these operations was two days ago when Mexico deported to Cuba 116 migrants detained in that country in their attempt to reach the United States irregularly.

Cuban authorities perceive an increase in migratory pressure since in the first two months of the year more than 43% of all migrants returned in 2021 have been registered.

The number of Cubans on the US-Mexico border increased by the end of 2021 from 862 in August to 7,893 in December, according to the Washington Office on Latin America WOLA ).

Analysts point to the economic crisis in Cuba as the main reason for the increase in migration, aggravated by the effects of the pandemic, US sanctions, and some economic policy decisions.

The Cuban government, for its part, attributes the increase in irregular migration to Washington’s failure to deliver 20,000 annual visas.

Likewise, it denounces the validity of the Cuban Adjustment Law of 1966 -which allows Cubans to apply for permanent residence after one year and one day of remaining in that country-, and the strengthening of the embargo.

The suspension of the processing and granting of immigrant and non-immigrant visas at the US Consulate in Havana and the transfer of these procedures to third countries have also encouraged illegal departures, according to the Cuban government.

The United States reduced the activity and personnel of its Embassy in Havana to a minimum and diverted consular services to third countries after the “health incidents” against its diplomats, which have not yet been clarified.

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