US, Cuba hold biannual migration talks

In this Jan. 12, 2017 photo, Josefina Vidal speaks to reporters in Havana, Cuba.
Associated Press / Desmond Boylan, File

The United States Department of State has reported that the United States and Cuba on Monday, Dec. 11 held their 31st biannual Migration Talks in Washington, D.C.

The State Department said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs John Creamer and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Ed Ramotowski led the United States delegation.

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry Director General for US Affairs Josefina Vidal led the Cuban delegation.

The State Department said the delegations discussed “the significant reduction in irregular migration” from Cuba to the United States since the implementation of the January 2017 Joint Statement.

Apprehensions of Cuban migrants at United States ports of entry decreased by 64 percent from fiscal year 2016 to 2017, and maritime interdictions of Cuban migrants decreased by 71 percent, the statement said.

It said the United States confirmed it met its annual commitment in fiscal year 2017 to facilitate legal migration by issuing a minimum of 20,000 documents under the Migration Accords to Cubans to immigrate to the United States.

“The US delegation also raised the need for increased Cuban cooperation in the return of Cubans with final orders of removal from the United States,” the statement said. “A strong migration policy is vital to the United States’ national security.”

The State Department said 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.”

The talks were last held in April 2017, the State Department said.

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