Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, warned in a July 13 press conference that people from Cuba and Haiti should not attempt to sail to the United States as they flee their countries. Both nations have been seeing massive protests against the ruling regimes in recent weeks. Mayorkas stated that any migrant caught at sea, irrespective of their nationality, will not be allowed to enter the U.S.
“The Coast Guard, along with our state, local, and federal partners are monitoring any activity that may indicate increases in unsafe and irregular maritime migration in the Florida straits, including unpermitted vessel departures from Florida to Cuba… The time is never right to attempt migration by sea. To those who risk their lives doing so, this risk is not worth taking. Allow me to be clear: if you take to the Sea, you will not come to the United States,” Mayorkas said in a statement.
The Homeland Security secretary also warned that attempting to cross the waters “in the straits of Florida in the Caribbean are dangerous” since the region is currently experiencing hurricane season. In recent weeks, 20 people have died attempting such voyages. In the fiscal year 2020, 49 Cubans were intercepted at sea by U.S. forces. In the fiscal year 2021, this figure jumped almost ten times to 470.
Mayorkas pointed out that, even though the Biden administration had designated Haiti with a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, this does not mean those who come from Haiti will become eligible for citizenship under the program. TPS residency permits are only being given to Haitians who have been living in the United States as of May 21, 2021.
Mayorkas’ statements come as a new poll from Nevada shows that Americans are getting increasingly frustrated at the Biden administration’s immigration policies. The poll, conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), found that 55 percent of voters feel that granting millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship will only exacerbate the immigration and border crisis. Fifty-nine percent blame the Biden administration for the current problems at the border.
“The reckless policies of the Biden administration have created an unprecedented illegal immigration crisis. The voters are very clear: Any senator who yields to pressure from their party’s fringe, and resorts to legislative trickery to gain amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, does so at his or her political peril,” Dan Stein, president of FAIR, said in a statement.
Immigration double standard?
The Biden administration’s stance on discouraging Cuban immigrants has come under criticism for carrying political undertones.
Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), said in a statement that since people who flee Cuba will “never vote for the left’s Marxist nightmare,” they are denied entry into America even though they live under “one of the most repressive regimes” in the world.
“Refusing to give political asylum to those who are legitimately fleeing political violence and oppression in Cuba, after opening the borders to anyone who makes an asylum claim from Central America demonstrates that Biden’s border policy is not about human rights, it is about importing voters,” Manning said.
In a tweet, conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro accused the Democrats of practicing a policy that turns away refugees who might potentially vote Republican.
“The Biden administration has a welcome mat out for the hundred of thousands of migrants illegally crossing the southern border. Why the double standard?” Republican Senator John Cornyn tweeted.
Pointing out that Mayorkas himself is from Cuba, a Politico article says that even though the Biden administration has expressed solidarity with the anti-communist Cuban protests, it has not shared “any concrete plans or policy” to help these people.
In an interview with Newsmax, Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis from New York said that Mayorkas’ position on Cuban and Haitian migrants “seems like a message that he should be saying at the southern border right now where you have mass migration.” She added that if anyone actually deserves asylum, it would be the people escaping “a murderous, communist regime.”
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Marco Rubio has asked the Biden administration to ensure that the Cuban people have access to the uncensored internet. Without an open internet, the people can more easily be “monitored, suppressed, detained, and brutalized” by the communist regime without any accountability.
“Bringing free and open internet will help the Cuban people communicate with one another without censorship and repression and show them that the world stands beside them in their quest for liberty,” Rubio said.