Cubans are migrating to the US from Mexico, where they have crossed more than a million times.

The mother of two spent years trying to bring her children and parents to the United States through legal channels.

Cubans are migrating to the US from Mexico, where they have crossed more than a million times.

Finally, she decided to act immediately and paid $40,000 to someone to help her sneak into Mexico.

"I told myself, 'Enough. The 30-year-old woman spoke out to The Associated Press under anonymity to avoid reprisals by U.S authorities.

The story of her family is a good example of the hardships that tens and thousands of Cuban immigrants trying to escape economic and political troubles face as they risk their lives to illegally enter the United States. This is a stark contrast to years ago when Cubans had special protections that were not available to other immigrants.

The 20-day journey was undertaken by her parents and children. It began with a flight from Havana to Managua (Nicaragua) in a single plane. They then traveled by bus, van, and taxi across Honduras as well as Guatemala and Mexico until they reached the U.S. border.

The woman stated, "I saw other people coming through the border and they seemed happy. And I, who had done everything legally, was still waiting to see my children."

CUBA AND NICARAGUA

According to Monday's figures, the U.S. border officials encountered Cubans 32,400 times in March. This was five times more than the October figure and roughly twice the February number.

This increase was due to Nicaragua's November decision to no longer require visas for Cubans in order to promote tourism, after other countries such as Panama or the Dominican Republic began mandating them.

After landing in Nicaragua, Cubans travel to Mexico by land, mainly to Yuma, Arizona and Del Rio in Texas. They then surrender to Border Patrol agents.

Biden's administration relies on other countries to prevent migrants from entering the U.S., as seen most recently in Panama this week by Secretary of State Antony Blinken (and Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas). This effort is complicated by the actions of Nicaragua, an adversary to the U.S.

The first meeting between U.S. and Cuban officials in four years will take place in Washington on Thursday, for immigration negotiations .

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped Cubans more that 79,800 times between October and March. This is more than twice the number of times in 2021 and five-times more than all of 2020. The Border Patrol stopped all migrants in March more than 209,000 times, which is the highest monthly figure in 22 years.

Cubans crossing the U.S. border illegally are not at risk of being deported, expelled or expelled under a law on public health that was used to deny asylum for thousands of migrants from other countries in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Title 42 authority was applied to only 500 Cubans who were stopped in March. This is named after a public law that governs health. The Biden administration will end Title 42 authority by May 23.

Jorge Duany, the director of Florida International University's Cuban Research Institute, and other experts believe that the number of Cubans moving could surpass other mass migrations from Cuba, such as the Mariel boatlift in 1980 when more than 124,000.700 Cubans arrived to the U.S.

Duany stated that "there are many intertwined elements that have created a perfect storm to intensify the Cuban exodus."

One, Cuba is currently experiencing the worst economic crisis since decades because of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the tightening U.S. sanctions.

The government's response to massive street protests held on July 11, 2021 played a part. Nongovernmental organizations reported over 1,400 arrests, and 500 people were sentenced to up 30 years for vandalism/seditious acts.

Havana does not know how many Cubans have fled, but has accused the United States manipulating the situation by offering perks to encourage their departure.

"What hurts? "There are young people who feel that their future plans cannot develop in the country, and they have to emigrate," said Miguel Diaz-Canel, Cuba's President. He made this statement early this month. "There are people who are looking to prove themselves in another country, who want show that they don't want to break with their country.

THE CUBAN FAMILY IS TIRED OF WAITING

A 30-year-old woman tried to bring her family to America through legal channels. She arrived in Florida on a raft in 2016. Cubans were allowed to stay in the United States if they reached land. However, they would be sent back to Cuba if they were caught at sea.

In 2017, former President Barack Obama ended this policy and she applied for immigration for her children in the following year.

She sent $500 to her family each month for food and medicine, as well as boxes of clothing and other items.

She finally decided to pay $11,000 each to smugglers -- for each relative -- her children, ages 8-10, and her mother, and father.

The single mother explained that her parents sold everything including their home and furniture before she embarked on the journey with her children.

They met 200 other migrants in Managua -- Cubans. Haitians. Venezuelans. Nicaraguans.

"That day, they started a caravan by car or truck, or any other type of vehicle. The woman stated that they were able to get into over 10 cars in one night.

They arrived in Mexicali (Mexico), crossed the Colorado River at night, and surrendered their bodies to Border Patrol agents in Yuma.

They were both separated. The grandmother said that the grandparents (45 and 62 years old) were released within two days. Their grandchildren were held for 11 days.

THE CUBAN MAN WHO FEARED FOR HIS LIFE

Others claim they fled Cuba because they felt persecuted.

Ariel, 24 years old, worked in a laboratory at Cienfuegos on Cuba's south coast performing blood tests. During the pandemic, Ariel led a protest calling for masks, gowns, and disinfectants. He also criticised the government via Facebook about the shortage of medical supplies.

In a telephone interview, he told the AP that he had received threats and been beaten to make his decision to leave. Because his mother and his 14-year old sister could be subject to reprisals, he requested that his middle name not be used.

Ariel said his entire trip was "a nightmare", but he stated that he was willing to do "whatever it took" to leave Cuba.

With the help of an aunt from Florida, he made it to Mexicali and paid $300 to a smuggler to transport him across Colorado River.

He said that he joined around 100 migrants, 90 of which were Cubans, and boarded a truck at night.

The river was still and calm but it was deep. His waist was covered by water. A Cuban mother was helped by him carrying her child on his shoulders.

They were given directions by the smuggler to get to a location where Border Patrol agents could pick them up.

They waited for two days in a migrant camp, where they shared meals of bread and canned food with 1,000 others. They were taken by Border Patrol agents in 12 groups to Yuma, where they were placed in a facility that Ariel described as "like a prison."

He called his aunt after his release to inform her that he was free to fly to St. Petersburg, Florida.

LIVING IN THE U.S.

Many Cubans who illegally crossed the border from Cuba feel that they are now in limbo.

"The most difficult situation will be here, and not when crossing (the frontier)," Dr. Raul Gonzalez, a Cuban American, said. He owns a clinic that assists new arrivals with paperwork so they can receive assistance for a few weeks. They are like being stranded here."

Asylum seekers can take a while to get a work permit.

Gonzalez's clinic had Cubans lined up for one of the 20 available appointments each day.

The doctor said, "It's sad what they're going through." "Many people tell me that I should not be given food stamps. They should let me work."


 

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