The United States will fully resume visa processing for immigrants at the American embassy in Havana in 2023 to discourage illegal immigration from Cuba, which has escalated since President Biden took office.
The last time full immigrant visa processing took place in Cuba was in 2017, according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Havana. U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the number of personnel in Havana to efficiently process the immigrants.
Cubans with U.S.-based relatives applying for visas will undergo interviews at the embassy in Havana. Previously, applicants traveled to Guyana for the interviews.
“These efforts are a key step to meet the U.S. commitment under the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords to ensure that total legal migration to the United States from Cuba will be a minimum of 20,000 Cubans each year, not including immediate relatives of U.S. citizens,” the State Department said in the press release. “The State Department continues to evaluate further expanding visa services in Havana as conditions permit.”
CBS News reported that in fiscal year 2022, nearly 20,000 Cubans were processed by U.S. border agents, which was more than a 400 percent increase from 2021.
“Like the regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua, which have also seen record numbers of their nationals journey to the U.S. border in the past year, the Cuban government has not been accepting U.S. deportations, meaning the vast majority of Cuban migrants who enter the U.S. illegally are released to await their asylum hearings,” CBS noted.
In addition, CBS pointed out that the number of Cuban migrants interdicted at sea en route to America has “increased sharply” over the past year. The U.S. Coast Guard reportedly interdicted 5,545 Cubans at sean in 2022, which is a 562 percent jump from 2021.