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Biden Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas responded to the ongoing crisis in Cuba by saying that any Cubans that attempt maritime migration to the U.S. will not be allowed into the country.
Mayorkas, who is Cuban, claimed that the Biden administration stands “in solidarity with the Cuban people and their call for freedom from the repression and economic suffering that the Cuban’s authoritarian regime is causing.”
“The Coast Guard, along with our state, local, and federal partners are monitoring any activity that may indicate increases in unsafe and irregular maritime migration in the Florida straits, including unpermitted vessel departures from Florida to Cuba,” Mayorkas said on Wednesday. “The time is never right to attempt migration by sea. To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking. Allow me to be clear: if you take to the Sea, you will not come to the United States.”
“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” Mayorkas said. “They will not enter the United States.”
Recent polling from Pew Research Center found that “most Cuban Americans identify as Republican.”
The remarks from Mayorkas come as Cubans took to the street in rarely seen demonstrations over the weekend to protest the impoverished conditions of the communist island and their lack of freedom under the communist regime. Some of the pro-freedom protesters demonstrated while chanting “Liberty” and “Freedom” and waving an American flag. The communist Cuban government responded by cutting off internet on parts of the island to prevent protests from spreading and to prevent the world from witnessing the events that were happening. Reports have leaked out of the island that the communist government is cracking down on dissidents as a result of the protests.
Mayorkas also addressed the recent events in Haiti which have led to political unrest on yet another island in the Caribbean.
The Coast Guard recently sent two cutters to the coast of Haiti, in addition to three others already in nearby waters. Our priority is to preserve and save lives. Even during the current pandemic, the Coast Guard maintains a continual presence in the Florida straits in the Caribbean Sea, particularly around Puerto Rico as I mentioned, and our maritime approaches, patrolling with air and sea military assets.
In May, I announced the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status — TPS — for 18 months. Let me be clear, TPS is not an immigration program. It only benefits Haitian nationals who are already in the United States at the time of designation. TPS eligibility applies only to those Haitians who are already residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 and who meet all other requirements.
Again, I repeat: do not risk your life attempting to enter the United States illegally. You will not come to the United States. We, the Department of Homeland Security, and this Administration remain committed to supporting the Haitian and the Cuban people, and we will continue our efforts in this regard.