Cuban and Haitian citizens looking to flee their countries by boat will not be allowed entry into the United States — even if they can provide proof of torture or persecution, says Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“The time is never right to attempt migration by sea. To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking,” Mayorkas bluntly stated.
“Allow me to be clear: if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”
Mayorkas, who himself fled the island of Cuba with his family in 1960, issued this warning swiftly after recent political chaos in Cuba and Haiti.
In Cuba, large-scale protests have broken out due to a worsening economic crisis. The average Cuban citizen is struggling to buy food and medicine for their family due to rising costs, according to CBS.
If it wasn’t bad enough for Cuban citizens, there are a few reports of internet service being throttles during peak times.
While it is unclear if this was done intentionally to prevent protest videos from being spread online, it is clear that an outage did occur.
‘Send Them Back’
“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” Mayorkas stated.
“They will not enter the United States.”
Mayorkas’ statement is consistent with U.S policy, as the U.S. government historically has turned away most of the migrants at sea.
Occasionally, U.S officials will send a few migrants to be screened at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Asylum-seekers who successfully pass the interviews have been sent to third countries such as Australia.
While Mayorkas is content to turn all Cuban and Haitian sea migrants away, some may find it interesting that the U.S. is currently releasing hundreds of Central Americans into the country.
According to Reuters, Central American migrants are being dropped off in shelters by the Border Patrol. Then then quickly leave these shelters to meet up with family or friends located elsewhere in the United States.
It is unclear why the United States is turning away Cuban and Haitian immigrants but letting Central American immigrants rush freely across the border.
“The U.S. government shouldn’t be using this system of off-shore processing to evade our refugee protection laws,” said Kennji Kizuka, the associate director of research and analysis at Human Rights First.
“They should allow people to land in the United States and go through their full asylum proceedings.”