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Sneaking in the south way: Cuban refugees streaming into U.S. from Mexico

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

One of the main concerns fueling immigration reform between the United States and Mexico is the fact that many different people sneak through the border that the two nations mutually share. It's not just poor, rural Mexicans seeking employment in the U.S.; sometimes, disguised Middle Easterners, some with shadowy ties to terrorist organizations, cross into the states. Cubans, fleeing their island homeland are also a problem as well. At least 2,300 Cubans tried to cross into the states this year alone. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Part of this stems from the easing by the Cuban government of restrictions on traveling abroad. According to the Miami Herald, undocumented Cubans stopped at the U.S.-Mexican border more than doubled from the previous year, when 994 were detained.

Roughly 13,000 got to the border undetected between Sept. 2012 and Sept. 2013, some experts say.

Cuba's "wet-foot-dry-foot" policy, which holds that any Cuban national who puts foot on U.S. soil may stay in the country. Those who are stopped at sea, however are often repatriated. Cuban officials say travel abroad has risen 35 percent since the island's government loosened restrictions this year.

Cubans took 226,877 trips to other countries between January 1 and October 23, Colonel Lamberto Fraga, an official in the immigration directorate of the Interior Ministry says. The Cuban government had eliminated a widely disliked requirement for an exit permit in January. Fraga doesn't say how many trips were made off the island the previous year. Only providing the number of trips, Fraga does say that 24,000 Cubans made at least two journeys this year.

The primary destination for travelers was the United States, followed by Mexico and Spain, Fraga added.

With President Raul Castro's easing of travel restrictions, Cuba's weak economy has prompted many more people to leave.

The travel changes include eliminating the requirement for Cuban government exit permits, permitting more youths to travel, and raising to 24 months from 11 months the length of time that Cubans are allowed to stay outside Cuba without losing their residency.

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