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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Cuban Migration to the United States

January 26, 2009


It is the policy of the U.S. Government (USG) to support the safe, legal, and orderly migration of Cuban migrants to the United States. To that end, the U.S. and Cuba signed the September 9, 1994 Joint Communiqué and the May 2, 1995 Joint Statement, collectively known as the “Migration Accords,” detailing the two countries’ reaffirmed common interest in preventing unsafe departures from Cuba and outlining their commitments to safe, legal, and orderly migration.

  • In response to the refusal of the Government of Cuba (GOC) to address five specific impediments to safe, legal and orderly migration, the USG suspended its bi-annual migration talks with Cuba in December 2003. The five impediments are: the GOC’s practice of denying “exit permission” to persons who have been approved by the U.S. Government legally to travel or to migrate to the United States; the GOC’s refusal to authorize the USG to conduct a new Special Program for Cuban Migration (SPCM) or Cuban lottery as one mechanism for legal migration to the U.S.; the GOC’s refusal to provide a deeper port for the repatriation of migrants interdicted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard; the GOC’s prevention of unencumbered access by USG personnel to returned migrants to ensure that the returnees are not subject to reprisals; and the GOC’s rejection of the obligation to accept the return of Cuban nationals deemed excludable from the U.S. on criminal, security, or other grounds.
  • The USG remains committed to reaching the target of processing 20,000 travel documents per fiscal year despite the GOC’s failure to address obstacles to that mutual commitment. To that end, the USG announced and made available the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program in November 2007. This program was created to expedite family reunification through safe, legal, and orderly channels of migration to the United States and to discourage dangerous and irregular maritime migration.

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