U.S. parole program for Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians to begin immediately

The United States government announced Thursday that it will begin to turn away migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti who try to enter illegally at the border, while offering them a way to emigrate legally, given the arrival of record numbers of migrants across the southern border with Mexico.

The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, explained in an interview with the Voice of America the expansion of a “humanitarian parole” program like the one implemented since October for Venezuelans that will allow the entry of a quota of migrants per month from those countries.

The program also has the support of governments in the region, which are affected by the number of transit migrants arriving in those countries, said the secretary.

The United States, Mayorkas said, will make sure to take new measures in the event of an increase in irregular migrants, while maintaining its commitment to humanitarian assistance where appropriate.

The senior official also warned about the dangers faced by those who embark on a maritime adventure along the coast of Florida – as has been happening alarmingly in recent weeks – and invited Cubans and Haitians not to undertake such a trip.

VOA: Secretary, when do you expect online applications to begin for this program for Nicaraguans, Haitians and Cubans?

Mayorkas: And expanded to Venezuelans as well… Immediately, either today or tomorrow, but immediately we’re going to start making this program accessible.

It’s extraordinarily important that we provide a safe, humane, and orderly way for people to get to the United States, so they don’t have to put their lives and life savings in the hands of smugglers because it’s too traumatic.

VOA: There is some criticism among NGOs. They’re saying things like, how do you explain to people in Cuba and Nicaragua, who are being persecuted, that they have to stay where they are and go online on an application and ask for protection? What is your response to that?

Mayorkas: I would answer as follows. Number one, the program has proven to be very successful with respect to Venezuelans. We have provided tremendous humanitarian aid to thousands of Venezuelans. We have saved them from smuggling organizations that could have led to their death or other trauma.

We are committed to providing humanitarian aid, in accordance with our traditions. It is important to stress that we are committed to providing humanitarian aid, in accordance with our traditions. At the same time, we cannot stand by and allow smuggling organizations to exploit people vulnerable people from Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti. So this is what we are doing, along with other programs, to deliver humanitarian aid in a safe and orderly manner.

VOA: What is the message for the people of Haiti and Nicaragua?

Mayorkas : You know, we’ve seen tremendous tragedies along the migration route, whether by sea or land. We’ve seen people die at sea. We’ve seen people perish on land on the perilous journey north. Don’t put your life in the hands of smugglers They don’t care about your well-being and only care about your money.

We are building legal roads, safe and orderly ways to get to the United States.

VOA : How is the Department of Homeland Security dealing with the arrival of hundreds of Cubans and Haitians by sea in Florida?

Mayorkas: What we have historically done, and continue to do, is deploy our US Coast Guard, which intercepts people making that dangerous journey and returns them to Cuba or another country, depending on the circumstances.

Don’t jump into the sea, we’ve already seen too much misfortune.

VOA: Do you expect an increase in the number of people arriving by sea from Haiti and Cuba after this announcement?

Mayorkas: We are watching it very closely. It would be a serious mistake for people to do so. They will not succeed. We will exercise our legal authorities, the people who take these uneven paths, these dangerous paths, not only risked their lives, they risked their lives only to fail in their mission. Because what we’re doing is providing legal avenues.

Because what we’re doing is providing legal avenues, but we’re creating consequences for people who don’t use those legal avenues that we’ve made available to them, so they’ll be removed under Title 42, or returned under our Title 8. There are several of our legal authorities, and we are working on them with the judicial system that we are subject to.

VOA: Today there is another announcement about the number of refugees for Latin America, the Western Hemisphere, and one of the questions What is important is which countries will be a priority for these 20,000 refugees that they will accept from Latin America and the Caribbean

Mayorkas: What is very important about that is that we are providing more refugee processing in the western hemisphere, here in Latin America Much larger than ever before. And we haven’t prioritized which countries yet, but they will be much more widely available.

VOA: And finally, once we e Mexico accept those 30,000 migrants that they agreed to accept every month. What happens if more people continue to arrive at the US border? What will happen to them? Will they be sent back to Mexico or their countries of origin?

Mayorkas: Mexico’s decision is a decision that Mexico made independently, unilaterally. But what I said before is true: we are going to respond to what we are experiencing on our southern border. So we will accelerate or add additional measures that respond to the situation, because we are very committed to providing humanitarian aid, but we are very committed to delivering that aid in a safe and orderly manner and creating consequences for people who don’t comply.

VOA: Did you reach other agreements with other countries to return the migrants?

Mayorkas: We have worked throughout the region in close collaboration with other countries. This is a regional challenge. Many countries are experiencing increased migration, the movement of people is unprecedented. We are working with those other countries. Let’s take a look at Colombia… Colombia has accepted 2.4 million Venezuelans. Costa Rica is now accepting an unprecedented number of Nicaraguans. A regional challenge requires a regional solution.

VOA: But you can’t send Venezuelans back to Venezuela, for example…

Mayorkas: We don’t have a relationship with Venezuela. Venezuela does not accept the return of its citizens. And so, we’re working with other countries to provide relief as well as I mentioned, a consequence for those who don’t access the relief that we’re providing.

See the full interview at this link.

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