WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Wednesday the U.S. Embassy in Cuba will begin processing full immigrant visas in early 2023, making it easier for Cubans to reunite with family members in the states. -United.
The Havana embassy last processed full immigrant visas in 2017. The U.S. government will also stop requiring Cubans seeking visas in family preference categories to travel to Georgetown, Guyana to their interviews.
The additional government staff will provide staff at the embassy to process visa applications. The additional staff is part of the commitment stemming from the resumption of Cuba’s parole program for family reunification last month. The 2007 program allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request family members in Cuba to come to the United States earlier than scheduled.
LOOK: How Cuban-Americans View America’s Role in Cuba’s Fight for Democracy
Under agreements with Cuba, the United States has pledged to ensure the legal migration of at least 20,000 Cubans per year, not including close relatives of US citizens.
Attempts to cross borders by Cubans have risen sharply over the past year, according to data released Monday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. US authorities arrested Cubans attempting to enter the United States 19,057 times in August, more than four times as many as in August 2021.
The border crossings have been fueled in part by repeat franchisors, as there are no legal consequences for being deported under a pandemic-era rule known as Title 42. This rule negates the right to seek asylum.