By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Feb. 17 — A new round of talks to discuss the implementation of the US-Cuba Migration Accords takes place on Friday in Havana.
The US State Department announced that Craig Kelly, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, was traveling to Cuba on Wednesday.
According to the Obama administration, “The discussions will focus on how best to promote safe, legal and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States.”
The two sides will be reviewing the accords signed in 1994 and 1995 reported IPS. The first talks on the issue took place last July in New York. Cuba and the US also held a meeting last year to discuss restoring postal service but no agreement was announced.
Cuba has repeatedly expressed interest in working with the US to fight the illegal trafficking of persons. Human traffickers charge between US $5,000 and $10,000 per head to bring illegal immigrants from Cuba to the US.
The existing accords included the US commitment to issue a minimum of 20,000 for legal Cuban immigrants. Cuba promised to discourage illegal exists and the US said it would return Cubans caught at sea by the US Coast Guard.
A major issue for Cuba is the Cuban Adjustment Act a piece of US legislation dating back to 1966, whereby Cubans who make it to US territory can stay even without a visa. The law has led thousands to take to the sea in unworthy vessels with an uncalculated loss of life resulting over the years.
Meanwhile, the United States maintains a travel ban on its citizens from visiting Cuba as well as a half century economic blockade on the island. Attempts to lift the travel ban have stalled in US congressional committees.