(CMR) The US is expected to begin deporting Cuban migrants who crossed undocumented into the country from Mexico on flights back to Cuba, officials have revealed.
The deportation is expected as Cuba has agreed for the first time since the pandemic to accept deportation flights carrying Cubans caught at the US-Mexico border. This is expected to deter the number of Cubans heading to the US.
According to Reuters, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had about a dozen Cubans in custody who failed an initial screening for asylum at the border. Officials told Reuters that the US agency is waiting until it has enough Cuban deportees to fill a plane before sending one to Havana.
Regular deportations of Cubans were halted during the COVID-19 pandemic, though the United States continued to deport a small number of Cubans via commercial airlines, an official told Reuters.
Large numbers of Cubans continue to flee the country amid economic hardships. The Cayman Islands has also had many Cuban migrants arriving to its shores. Just last week, the Cayman Islands government revealed it spent over CI$1.2 million to house migrants.
While the government has a hefty bill, the migrants cannot be deported without giving them the chance to apply for asylum. The Cayman Islands has obligations under the 1951 UN Conventions on Refugees concerning refugees and asylum seekers.
The repatriation process can only begin after each migrant is given the right to apply for asylum and the right to appeal if the application is denied.