Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was born in Cuba, warned on Tuesday that any refugees from his Caribbean island home as well as those attempting to escape Haiti will not be allowed to enter the United States.
That also includes refugees who say they are seeking asylum as they escape persecution and tyranny, according to CBS News.
“Allow me to be clear: if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” Mayorkas, whose family fled Cuba for the U.S. in 1960, said.
His warning comes as major political events take place in both of those countries.
In his home nation, thousands of citizens have taken to the streets in a rare display of public pushback against the communist regime, as economic conditions in Cuba, which were already bad, took a turn for the worse in recent months.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says Haitian/Cuban asylum-seekers who try to come to the U.S. will not be allowed in the country, even if in fear of persecution.
They will be resettled in third countries. pic.twitter.com/qBpmLYW7i1
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) July 13, 2021
And in Haiti, President Jovenel Moise was assassinated last week in a brazen early-morning attack that reportedly involved U.S. operatives including one who served as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency.
In his statement, Mayorkas said that anyone from Cuba or Haiti trying to escape to the U.S. by boat will be intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned immediately to their homes.
In addition, even if those seeking asylum manage to land an interview with U.S. immigration officials, they still won’t be allowed into the country, no matter the outcome of their initial screening.
“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” Mayorkas said. “They will not enter the United States.”
Critics lashed out at the warning.
“The U.S. government shouldn’t be using this system of off-shore processing to evade our refugee protection laws,” said Kennji Kizuka, associate director of research and analysis at Human Rights First, in an interview with CBS News. “They should allow people to land in the United States and go through their full asylum proceedings.”
It’s not that Mayorkas’ statement signaled a shift in U.S. policy; for decades, subsequent administrations have engaged in the same practice.
But Mayorkas’ warnings to Cubans and Haitians coming by boat contrast with the record numbers of migrants who are simply walking, illegally, into the United States along portions of the border with Mexico, tens of thousands of whom are processed and released into the country to await immigration hearings that are years away.
To that point, CBS News reported that thousands of Cuban and Haitian migrants have been detained along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months. In May, the last month for available government statistics, 2,800 Haitians and 2,600 Cubans were intercepted along the border.
“It seems like a message that he should be saying at the southern border right now,” U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the GOP lawmaker from New York who is the daughter of a Cuban refugee, told Newsmax.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warns Cubans and Haitians not to come to the US.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) July 14, 2021
Users on social media also blasted Mayorkas’ warning.
“Four years of ‘the cruelty is the point’ and ‘kids in cages’ and they can’t even do this???” said one.
“Yet the southwest border is wide open,” another pointed out.
“They can’t just come across the southern border like all the rest?” another user asked sarcastically.
Mark Hemingway, a senior writer at RealClearInvestigations, added: “Guess they don’t think Cubans will vote Democratic, ergo they don’t have a claim for asylum.”
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