US, Cuba hold talks on migration

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The US Department of State says there was a significant reduction in irregular migration from Cuba since January 2017.

This was disclosed during Wednesday's annual migration talks held here.

The State Department also revealed that apprehensions of Cuban migrants at US ports of entry decreased by 88 per cent from fiscal year 2017 to 2018.

“The United States again raised the need for increased Cuban cooperation in the return of Cubans with final orders of removal from the United States,” the State Department said, adding that Washington also reiterated that “until it is safe to fully staff our Embassy, we are able to adjudicate only official and emergency visas in Havana.

“A strong migration policy is vital to the United States' national security,” the State Department continued, stating that the migration talks, which began in 1995, “provide a forum for the United States and Cuba to review and coordinate efforts to ensure safe, legal and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States”.

Coordinator for Cuban Affairs Gabriel Escobar and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Ed Ramotowski led the US delegation.

The Cuban delegation was led by Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, the Foreign Ministry's Director General for US Affairs.
The talks were last held in December 2017.

Yesterday's migration talks came a day after both parties held the fourth Law Enforcement Dialogue in Washington.

During the dialogue, the State Department said the United States and Cuba addressed “topics of bilateral interest on national security matters, including fugitives and the return of Cuban nationals with final orders of removal.”

The delegations also discussed the health attacks against diplomatic personnel at the US Embassy in Havana, including two recent cases.

“The US delegation reminded the Cubans of their responsibility to protect US diplomats from harm.”

During the dialogue, the delegations reviewed recent progress in the law enforcement relationship, such as “new bilateral cooperation that resulted in the conviction of a Cuban national who murdered an American citizen and who had fled prosecution in the United States, as well as areas where there is more work to be done, such as trafficking in persons”.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs John Creamer, Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz, and Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy Elizabeth Neumann led the US delegation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of Bilateral Affairs for the United States, Yuri A Gala Lopez, and Ministry of Interior Colonel Nestor Borrero Calvo led the Cuban delegation.

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