WASHINGTON – More than 10,000 Cuban migrants made their way to U.S. soil in the first two months of 2016, marking the continuation of a recent upward trend, officials told EFE.
A total of 10,017 Cuban citizens who had left the Communist-ruled island illegally entered the United States in January and February, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday, putting the number of Cuban emigrants at 6,165 in February and 3,852 in January.
Those numbers are in line with the figures from October (6,518), November (6,116) and December (4,437) of last year.
The arrival of 17,071 Cubans between October and December 2015 was nearly double the 9,219 emigrants in the last three months of 2014 and roughly triple the 5,770 who reached U.S. soil in the final quarter of 2013.
Those figures reflect the increase in emigration to the United States via Central America and Mexico by Cuban citizens, who fear that the recent restoration of full diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana will lead to the repeal of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, a law that gives Cubans the right to apply for permanent residence after a year’s stay in the United States.
Havana rejects that law and Washington’s unilateral “wet foot-dry foot” policy, saying they encourage illegal immigration and migrant trafficking.
Under “wet foot, dry foot,” undocumented Cuban migrants who reach U.S. soil are allowed to stay and acquire Green Cards as per the Adjustment Act, while those intercepted at sea are repatriated to the Communist-ruled island unless they can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution.”