After a five-year hiatus, the United States is reopening its immigration office in the Cuban capital, Havana. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday that a field office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is processing immigration applications from Cubans who already have relatives in the United States. Among other things, employees will conduct interviews and collect biometric data.
The immigration office in Havana was closed at the end of 2018 when President Donald Trump tightened his grip on the socialist-ruled Caribbean state. The closure came in response to the emergence of the Havana Syndrome.
Mysterious health problems among several American diplomats raised fears, first in the Cuban capital and later in the rest of the world, that acoustic or electrosonic weapons might be used by an enemy state. US intelligence now believes these cases are unlikely to be the result of attacks.
The Secretary of Homeland Security is from Cuba
The reopening of the Havana office is part of an effort by the administration of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, to combat illegal immigration to the United States while expanding options for legal entry. Immigration offices in many Latin American countries should also help.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is of Cuban descent, said the Biden administration is taking steps to “reduce illegal border crossings, deprive nefarious smuggling organizations of resources, and improve access to legal, safe and orderly routes.” Security is required to enter the country. “Cubans like my own family, who fled the communist takeover nearly 63 years ago, deserve an equal opportunity through legal means to start a new life in the United States.”
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