EFE news agency reports that as many as 1,200 Cuban doctors may get a new shot at immigration into the United States if their applications were submitted prior to cutoff: 5:00pm, January 12, 2017. The clarification comes a week after the Obama administration announced the elimination of the program, as well as an end to wet foot, dry foot policy, which gave entry to most Cuban migrants who made it onto U.S. soil.
The Cuban Medical Parole Program [CMPP], which is grants parole to Cuban doctors who can prove their nationality and that they were working as part of a Cuban government mission in a third country. On Thursday, Department of Homeland Security clarified that doctors with pending applications have to meet these requirements, too.
This is not a recent program; it pre-dates Obama’s presidency. A Reuters article, “U.S. considers ending program that lures Cuban doctors to defect,” by Jeff Mason and Daniel Trotta (8 January 2016), pointed out that the U.S. government was considering putting an end to a program that encourages Cuban doctors and nurses on overseas assignments to defect, which was put into place in 2006, “in a gesture emblematic of improving U.S.-Cuban relations.”
The CMPP, which started under George W. Bush in 2006, targets one of Cuba’s proudest achievements: sending doctors, nurses and other medical professionals abroad on outreach missions. The program granted U.S. officials discretionary authority to allow Cuban medical professionals into the United States, providing assistance at U.S. embassies in the countries where the doctors were posted. According to Reuters, it was “open to more than 50,000 Cuban medical professionals in more than 60 countries.”
Here are excerpts from the latest report, in English, on the recent announcement of a reprieve for Cuban medical professionals waiting in third countries for permission to enter the U.S. if paperwork was submitted prior to the official end of the CMPP. This Miami Herald article gives examples of Cuban doctors waiting in Barbados, Colombia, and Mexico, among other countries. [Access links below to the full article as well as articles in Spanish.]
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated aspects of the new immigration policy toward Cuba and now says it will process pending applications to the parole program known by the acronym CMPP — provided paperwork was submitted before 5 p.m. Jan. 12, the official end to the program. ‘[United States Citizenship and Immigration Services] will not accept and adjudicate any CMPP cases received at U.S. embassies and consulates on or after 5:00 p.m. EST on January 12, 2017,’ a DHS spokesman said in statement Thursday. ‘However, cases initiated before that time frame will continue to be accepted and adjudicated by USCIS to completion.’
The clarification comes a week after the Obama administration announced the elimination of the program, as well as an end to wet foot, dry foot policy, which gave entry to most Cuban migrants who made it onto U.S. soil.”
For full article in English, see http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article127569989.html
For EFE articles in Spanish, see https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2017-01-22-u141144-cerca-1200-medicos-cubanos-podran-ingresar-eeuu and https://www.cubanet.org/noticias/unos-1-200-medicos-cubanos-podran-ingresar-a-ee-uu/ [photo above from the latter, Cubanet.]
For original Reuters article, see http://www.reuters.com/article/cuba-usa-doctors-idUSL1N14S1LY20160108