The Biden administration has reportedly begun expelling Cubans and Nicaraguans to Mexico under pandemic-related powers which prevent migrants seeking asylum, expanding use of the rule even as it publicly says it has been trying to unwind it, officials said Wednesday.
The U.S made an agreement with Mexico to expel up to 100 Cubans and 20 Nicaraguans per day from three locations: San Diego; El Paso, Texas; and Rio Grande Valley, Texas, according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the effort.
The expulsions commenced on April 27th and will end on May 22nd, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been made public. They are carried out under Title 42 authority, a public health law that has been used to expel migrants on grounds of preventing spread of COVID-19. Title 42 is due to expire May 23rd, unless a judge rules otherwise.
The U.S. and Mexico agreed on April 26th to a very limited number of expulsions of Cubans and Nicaraguans, according to a high-level Mexican official who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was prompted by higher numbers of migrants from those two countries coming to the U.S. border.
Mexico also considered that the U.S. government had started processing visas in Cuba again, the official said. Mexico had also begun processing visas for Cubans.
Another Mexican official, also not authorized to comment publicly, confirmed that up to 100 Cubans and 20 Nicaraguans were being expelled from San Diego under Title 42.
Until last week, Mexico only agreed to take Guatemalans, Hondurans and El Salvadorans in addition to Mexicans, under the authority of Title 42. Other nationalities are subject to Title 42 but costs, strained diplomatic ties and other considerations often make it difficult to send them back to their home countries.
Cubans were stopped by U.S. authorities more than 32,000 times on the Mexican border in March, double the number in February and more than five times October’s count, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Nicaragua eased travel restrictions from Cuba in November, making it easier for Cubans to continue by land to the U.S. border. Most migrants enter the U.S. in or near Yuma, Arizona, and Del Rio, Texas.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WAFB.COM