Migration talks between Cuba and the United States held in Washington D.C.

On July 11, 2018, a new round of migration talks was held between the delegations from Cuba and the United States, which were presided over by the Director General for U.S. Affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, and by the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs at the State Department, Gabriel Escobar, respectively.

Both delegations acknowledged the benefits resulting from the Joint Statement signed on January 12, 2017 and, specifically, the elimination of the dry-foot-wet-foot policy and the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program in decreasing the Cuban irregular migration to the United States. Likewise, they agreed on the usefulness of the exchange held between the Cuban Border Guard and the U.S. Coastguard Services held in January 2018 and the technical exchange on human smuggling and migration fraud held in December 2017, as well as the possibilities to continue advancing bilateral cooperation to prevent that those who commit these crimes remain unpunished.

The exercise provided the framework to review the compliance with the bilateral accords signed by the two countries with the purpose of ensuring a regular, safe and orderly migration favoring both countries, discourage irregular migration, and prevent and combat other related illicit acts. Cuba reiterated that it fully abides by its obligations in conformity with the letter and spirit of the signed accords and reiterated its willingness to maintain and expand bilateral cooperation in this field.

The Cuban delegation urged the US Government to fully honor its commitment to grant the amount of immigrant visas established in the Migration Accords.  It likewise stated that the US decision to suspend the granting of visas at the US embassy in Havana directly harms migration relations, family ties of Cubans and US citizens as well as institutional exchanges and travels between the two countries.

The Cuban delegation also pointed out that irregular migration has made Cuban migrants fall victims of illegal alien smugglers and gangs associated to organized crime engaged in trafficking in persons and other related crimes.

Once again, the Cuban delegation expressed its concern over the continued implementation of the Cuban Adjustment Act, since it continues to encourage smugglers and irregular migrants. The current enforcement of this law is based on political motivations and together with other US statutes, is contrary to the purpose of ensuring a regular, safe and orderly migration, as was agreed upon by both nations.

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