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Trump administration reduces number of refugee admissions

Cuba's refugee admission program not accepting new applications

The Trump Administration says it is proposing to reduce refugee admissions from 30 thousand to 18 thousand.

HAVANA, Cuba – The Trump Administration says it is proposing to reduce the number of refugee admissions from 30,000 to 18,000. 

Local 10 reporter Hazel Vela spoke to Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about the proposal. “The same people who can do refugee and asylum work are going to work on our huge asylum backlog,” Cuccinelli said.

He said it is simply a shift in resources and that, by hiring more people the federal government will catch up with the backlog of 335,000 asylum cases.

“We created a crisis and now we’re diverting resources to that crisis that we created,” said immigration attorney Willy Allen.

The number of Cubans in the refugee program has dropped to a historically low number in the past three years.

Recently released figures show that in 2016, there were 354 Cubans resettled under the refugee program. In 2017, the number dropped to 177. In 2018, there were zero and this year there were only two. 

The number is not expected to go up. Due to the partially shut down U.S. Embassy in Havana, the refugee admission program is not currently accepting new applications or processing cases in Havana.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Annabelle Caceres is a valued intern at Local 10 News.