United States officials announced plans to relax Trump-era sanctions on Cuba, including travel restrictions. The State Department said on Monday that after the announcement, the government would add flights from the U.S. to Cuba, let American residents send more money to Cubans, and resume a program designed to help Cuban nationals United States citizens avoid the wait for the visa. Furthermore, the measures will provide Cubans with additional tools to practice a life free from the Cuban government.
The President Biden government proclaimed that it would undo some Trump-time restrictions on Cuba, including limitations on travel to the Caribbean state and re-establishing a family-reunification program.#Cuba #PresidentBiden pic.twitter.com/kloykPih3w
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) May 17, 2022
The Biden government has been under pressure to ease the migrants’ flow crossing the southern United States border, where a flood of Cubans seeking undocumented entry through Mexico. Last month, the Biden government and Cuba held direct migration dialogs for the first time in four years. Under decades-old agreements, the U.S. settled to issue around twenty-thousand immigrant visas yearly to Cubans in exchange for a Cuban pact to accept deportation flights in the country of those who entered the country illegally or believed otherwise disallowed.
In 2018, the Trump government suspended those pacts due to the reversal of former Democratic President Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba, restoring diplomatic relations in 2015. Later, sanctions limited visas of all types, and the United States Embassy and delegation were cut to Skelton staff in 2019. However, under the recent measures, the government will intensify the capacity of the embassy and restore a Family Reunification Parole program.
Government to Resume Cuban Family Reunification Parole
The United States is also increasing the categories for legal travel to Cuba, with further opportunities for Americans to travel on group educational visits. In addition, the Biden administration will lift the current $1000-per-quarter cap on financial transfers or payments sent from Americans to their Cuban family members, with the United States reportedly using the civilian payment processors to stop funds going to the Cuban government and some payments to non-family-members will also be approved.
Reuters reported that immigrant visa processing would speed up with the intention of issuing twenty thousand annually, part of a bid to reunify families. In addition, the government plans to resume the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program that allows United States family members or legal permanent U.S. nationals to likely bypass the wait for a family immigrant visa to become available.
The Trump government reversed travel and flights to Cuba, imposed bans on commercial flights, and restricted remittances to pressure the Cuban government, reversing the Obama government’s move to normalize relations with the country. In addition, during the last some days of the Trump government, Cuba designated as a state sponsor of terrorism after Obama took the nation off the list in 2015.
President Biden made a campaign vow to improve relations with the Cuban government but faced difficulties from Congress due to the disreputable Cuban relationship with Cuba with migration-related talks in April, including discussions to restore past pacts to cut undocumented migration between the U.S. and Cuba.