(CNS): The local immigration authorities confirmed yesterday that another 39 Cuban migrants (35 men and four women) were repatriated this week. The group was flown to Havana on Thursday, which involved a joint effort by staff from customs, the prison and police as well as the immigration department. This leaves 72 Cubans in Grand Cayman who are still going through the repatriation process. Those migrants are now all being held at the Immigration Detention Centre at Fairbanks.
The sudden announcement last week by the outgoing Obama administration that the US was ending its ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy was welcomed by officials here as they believe it may deter Cubans from attempting the treacherous sea crossing to Central America and reduce the number that end up stranded in Cayman waters. The processing, detaining and repatriation of Cubans costs the public purse millions of dollars every year.
The change in US policy, which removes the automatic right for Cubans who reach American soil to remain legally, was a result of the Obama administration’s improved relationship with Cuba and a political rapprochement after fifty years of animosity between the two governments.
But the change in power today in the United States may signal a reversal in the improved relationship between Washington and Havana. While there is little certainty about most of Donald Trump’s policies on any foreign relationships, his comments on Cuba via Twitter have suggested he would reverse Obama’s executive orders and deals signed with the government in Havana.
It may be that the reprieve in the movement of Cuban migrants through local waters could be short-lived.
Category: Local News