Cuba-US Mull Migration Accord

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, July 15 – The Cuban government proposed to the United States a new migration agreement during the resumption of the bilateral talks on this issue held Tuesday  in New York, reported IPS.  The migration talks had been suspended in 2004 by the Bush administration.

The Cuban delegation, headed by deputy Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez, once again questioned “the US Congress’s Cuban Adjustment Act, which encourages illegal exists and human trafficking.”

The Act, and its “dry feet-wet feet policy”, allows most Cubans who illegally reach US soil to have immediate assistance and assured green cards.   The stimulus leads many Cubans each year to take to the sea in unsafe boats.   Many have lost their lives in the odyssey.

The most famous case involved rafter boy Elian Gonzalez, whose mother and most of their companions died at sea in November 1999.  After a widely publicized legal battle Elian was finally returned to his father in Cuba in mid-2000.

Republican Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart criticized the resumption of the migration talks between Cuba and the United States questioning President Barack Obama’s policy of opening up to “enemy regimes,”  noted IPS.

Legislator, Ileana Ros-Lethinen, another representative of the Miami-based hard-line policy toward the island, also attacked the measures taken by Washington allowing Cuban-Americans to travel freely to the island.   She and Diaz-Balart strongly oppose bills currently in House and Senate committees that would lift the travel ban on ordinary US citizens.

Meanwhile, in describing the first renewed talks as “fruitful”, Dagoberto Rodriguez proposed that the next round of talks take place in December in Havana.