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Costa Rica Calls Emergency Meeting on New Immigration Crisis On Its Border

Costa Rica Calls Emergency Meeting on New Immigration Crisis On Its
Border / 14ymedio, Mario Penton
Posted on April 7, 2016

14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 5 April 2106 — The Costa Rican government
has called an emergency meeting of the countries involved in the
migratory flow that includes that nation as a transit point to the
United States. The meeting of foreign ministers and representatives of
the different nations involved will be held in the third week of April,
with all of the affected nations from the United States to Ecuador.

As reported by the Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion, the Costa Rican
meeting will aim to find solutions to the flow of undocumented
immigrants coming mainly from Ecuador and Colombia, mostly Cubans, along
with Asians and Africans.

At present, about 2,000 Cubans are stranded in the province of Chiriqui,
on the border of Costa Rica and Panama. As reported by Hugo Mendez,
governor of the region, 100 Cubans arrive in Paso Canoas every day, on
average, coming from the eastern border with Colombia. Colombia is an
unavoidable transit country for all Cubans who leave the island for
Guyana and Ecuador, countries whose legislation is more flexible in
granting visas.

The number of Cuban migrants in Puerto Obaldia and other areas of the
isthmus is unknown. So far, the expenses of accommodation and are
being shared between local governments and religious organizations. The
difficult conditions in which these migrants live has led to several
protests calling for international help in getting them to the United
States, their final destination.

“The meeting has raised the hopes of the people here, because people are
grasping at straws,” Silvio Enrique Campos, a Cuban stranded in Panama,
told 14ymedio. However, he believes that the problem is not exclusive to
the islanders, since there are dozens of migrants of other nationalities
who also share the fate of the Cubans waiting to continue their journey
to the United States. “I think this meeting is just going to serve the
fatten the wallets of the coyotes,” Campos said, as he suspects the
crisis is more of a business than a expense, and he doesn’t see an early

Meanwhile, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry denied last week that Cuban
citizens are victims of discriminatory treatment by Rafael Correa’s
government. An official press release noted that between 2012 and 2016
the country awarded 26,936 non-immigrant (temporary resident) visas, and
16,738 immigrant (permanent resident) visas to Cuban citizens. In
addition, during the same period 697 Cubans have been naturalized and
are now Ecuadorian citizens.

In a recent statement from the Cuban National Alliance of Ecuador (ANCE)
it was announced that, as a result of negotiations with the Ecuadorian
government the legalization of all those Cubans who entered the country
before December 2015 has begun. The process of accepting applications
will run for six months. However, Cuban citizens who entered after that
date remain at risk of deportation.

With regard to efforts to achieve an airlift that allows the orderly
exit of Cuban migrants from Ecuador to Mexico or the United States, the
government made clear that it “does not deny the right of Cubans to
emigrate but it cannot take responsibility for any negotiations,”
according to comments to this newspaper from Rolando Gallardo, one of
the coordinators of ANCE who attended the meeting. According to Gallardo
the official response to the creation of a so-called “humanitarian
bridge,” is based on the fact that Ecuador has never asked for anything
like this for its own citizens who desire to emigrate.

As reported by US immigration authorities, last year 44,159 Cubans
arrived at border posts and were automatically welcomed legally into the
United States under the “Wet foot/Dry foot” policy. In the first five
months of the 2016 fiscal year, some 27,644 Cuban citizens have been
beneficiaries of the “Parole Program” after arriving by sea or by land.
If the current rate of Cuban arrivals continues, this year the number of
applications for political asylum could exceed 60,000, a figure
surpassed only by the events of the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

Source: Costa Rica Calls Emergency Meeting on New Immigration Crisis On
Its Border / 14ymedio, Mario Penton | Translating Cuba –

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