US warns Cubans and Haitians not to flee by sea: ‘You can’t enter’

Because of the political crises in Cuba and Haiti, the United States fears an influx of refugees.AFP photo

With this appeal from Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mallorcas, Washington is trying to prevent the influx of refugees if the situation in Cuba, in particular, gets out of control. There have been unprecedented anti-government demonstrations there since Sunday. In Haiti, the political crisis has worsened since last week with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

“The time is absolutely not right to try to emigrate by sea,” said Mallorcas, who was born in Cuba, and whose parents immigrated to the United States shortly after the Cuban Revolution. “For those who are risking their lives to do so, it is not worth the risk. Let me be clear: If you go out to sea, you will not make it to the United States. No immigrant intercepted at sea, regardless of nationality, will be allowed to enter the United States.

Mallorcas issued his warning during a visit to Coast Guard headquarters in Washington. The day before, Coast Guard Commander Eric Jones urged Cubans not to go out to sea to reach Florida. “The journey is dangerous and brutal,” Jones said, noting that 20 migrants had drowned in recent weeks on their way to the United States.

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Immediately back

According to Mallorcas, there are no indications yet that the influx of refugees from Cuba and Haiti has actually begun. The Coast Guard has not seen any increase in the number of people trying to reach the United States in recent days. The minister said anyone trying to do so would be sent home immediately. For example, on Saturday 23 Cubans were turned back after their boat was intercepted near the Florida Keys.

Majorcas: ‘If people make it clear that they have a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they will be referred to third countries for settlement. They will not enter the United States.” The United States uses its naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to process applications from Cuban asylum seekers in particular. In the past, Australia has included some of them, among others.

The last time Cubans and Haitians en masse sought the United States in a short time due to the poor situation in their country was in the 1980s and 1990s. Then they were accepted into the United States. In 1980, for example, about 125,000 Cubans left the island in boats within six months. The Castro regime allowed them to leave undisturbed. Among them were many prisoners left by Havana.