By Amanda Gonzalez Garcia
The most alarming rates in recent years—this is what’s used to describe the immigration wave of 2023.
For past few months, the U.S. Coast Guard crews in Florida report they have intercepted more than 6,000 Cubans since last October — the highest number of arrivals since the 1990s.
Cubans have been fleeing the island for years now, but with recent political unrest and living conditions going from bad to worse, many have decided to risk their lives and take the trip aboard makeshift vessels.
Since then, the national park - approximately 70 miles from Key West - known as Dry Tortugas National Park has temporarily closed due to migrant landings.
This is not the case for only Cubans, but for Haitians as well.
CBS News reported that the Miami region of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has re- ported a 400% increase in migrant encounters. This rise comes after President Joe Biden in-stated a new migration-management proposal to allow in a monthly cap of 30,000 migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti who have financial sponsors in the U.S.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also issued a notice for an extension and redesignation for TPS better known as Temporary Protected Status.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that the benefit was extended until 2024 for residents from Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Haiti.
Governor DeSantis began dealing with migrants last September by flying them out of state to resort island Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.
“The state of Florida is currently in a state of emergency because of the ineptness and the incompetence of the federal government when it comes to immigration policy,” Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican state senator of Florida, said during a Feb. 10 committee hearing on a Florida bill that would allow the governor to continue relocating migrants out of state. “In fact, I would say that someone should declare the federal government itself its own disaster area.”
The (USCIS) government site has been updated to reflect some recent parole or temporary residency policy changes as of Jan. 6. You must:
- Have a supporter in the United States
- Undergo and clear robust security vetting
- Meet other eligibility criteria
- Warrant a favorable exercise of discretion
According to Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Leah Blumenfeld, given the proximity of Haiti and Cuban to the U.S. and the countries’ respective ongoing internal struggles, she predicts immigration and spikes as inevitable.
“The recent economic woes in Cuba and the collapse of the Haitian government are just another set of chapters in the longer saga,” she said.
On Feb. 7, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a pledge of $1.9 billion in the private sector to invest and create economic opportunities in Central America.
This builds on another announcement she made in December 2021 about a $1.2 billion sum in private sector commitments. The total for this initiative is now more than $3.2 billion.
According to the White House, “taken together, these investments are creating an ecosystem of opportunity and helping to provide hope for people in the region to build safe and prosperous lives at home.”
The companies joining this effort include Agroamerica; COATL’ Fundación Terra; Gap Inc; Millicom; Pantaleon; SanMar; Unifi; Visa; Yazaki; Microsoft; Nespresso; Accion; and Davivienda.
“Starting with just 12 companies and organizations, the Call to Action now includes 40 companies and organizations that have made commitments to invest in the region, representing financial services, textiles and apparel, agriculture, technology and telecommunications, and nonprofits,” the White House reported.
Now, how can various media sources either be for or against this movement? In the headlines, there are contributing words such as influx, rise, staggering, or hundreds.
Dr. Blumenfeld said that the media can always play a role in affecting how Americans see changes in policy and people’s actions in response to it.
“The story can be presented in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. Either this is an important step in a larger effort to reform the immigration system as a whole, or this is a bad policy,” she said.
Immigration is a forever changing subject, and with that comes doubt and uncertainty of what's to come and what can be expected.