Colombia to Deport Hundreds of Cuban Immigrants

Cuban migrants have been waiting to resolve their legal situation since May (El Universal)
Cuban immigrants have been waiting to resolve their legal situation since May (El Universal)

EspañolThe start of an immigrant repatriation program was announced Tuesday, July 26 by Director for Colombian Migration Christian Krüger.

Most citizens that enter Colombia illegally are Cuban, many of whom stay in warehouses or in shelters in Antioquia.  After May 19, with the border closing between Panama and Colombia, more than 300 Cubans were intercepted, along with citizens from African countries.

“We’re doing the paperwork to get into the warehouse where most immigrants are,” Kruger said.” Afterward, we will try to start the process we’re bound by law to follow, which involves deportation.”

Many immigrants requested they be sent by plan, but Krüger said this was impossible. The Mexican government isn’t receiving those flights, and because officials did not want to make something as delicate as immigrant trfaficking seem like an everyday occurrence.

According to Colombia Immigration offices, deportation will take place in one of two ways: Sending immigrants directly to their country of origin, or returning them to the border from which they arrived.

The massive arrival of Cubans to Colombia seems to be directly related to the border closing with Panama, as many of them are trying to get to the US.

Colombia said on June 11 that this year, 2,814 Cubans have been deported that came illegally on their way to the US. Cuban immigrants have been deported to Havana and Ecuador, according to Colombian Chancellor María Ángela Holguín.

An American law gives benefits to Cuban citizens that arrive in their territory. However, reestablished relationships between Washington and Havana have generated fears over advantages to immigration.

“What we’re seeing is the result of better relations between Cuba and the US,” one official said. “This has brought about greater immigrant movement in the last few months … We signed an agreement with Ecuador in which citizens that come through Ecuador will be deported back there. They will decide what to do with them from there.”

Sources: El Tiempo, La Prensa

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