Biden Administration to Ease Restrictions on Cuban Migrants

For the first time since 2017, the administration of President Joe Biden is set to resume full immigrant visa processing for Cuban nationals, hoping to help reunite families separated by national borders and facilitate legal migration into the US.

The US Embassy in Havana announced in a release on Wednesday it prepares for the full resumption of immigrant visa services in Cuba, noting it will also accelerate the processing of Cuban family reunification.

Pointing out that visa processing will begin again sometime in early 2023, the Biden administration also announced an increase in personnel at the US embassy in Havana to help with the expansion of regular pathways available to Cubans wishing to come to the US.

According to government statistics, the number of Cuban nationals seeking to enter the US has spiked dramatically over the last year – a 400% jump from 2021 – with around 200,000 processed by US border officials.

This decision reverses former President Trump’s 2017 decision to pause full visa processing for Cuban citizens. It also removes the requirement imposed by the Trump White House for Cubans looking to reunite with family members to travel to Guyana for their interviews.

The latest plans, as officials said, are consistent with their commitments under the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection to facilitate safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration.

This move will also quicken the pace of the process that the Biden administration had already started earlier this year, initiating a review of a limited number of Cuban visa applications.

Back in April, the US and Cuban officials held a series of immigration talks discussing the US-Cuba Migration Accords’ implementation

Under the accords, the US agreed to accept a minimum of 20,000 Cuban migrants per year excluding immediate relatives of US citizens. The State Department, as it was noted in the Embassy’s release, continues to evaluate further expanding visa services in Havana as conditions permit.

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