Recession slows Cuban migration
- From: PL <pl.nospam@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 01 May 2009 21:54:15 +0200
Recession slows Cuban migration
The economic slowdown in the United States is leading to a slowdown in
the number of Cuban immigrants coming to this country
By Luis F. Perez | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5:08 PM EDT, April 30, 2009
MIAMI - The recession has hit Cuban migration -- hard.
The number of Cubans entering the United States has dropped by more than
40 percent compared to the year before, Department of Homeland Security
numbers show. It's the biggest drop in 20 years, said Luis Diaz, a U.S.
Customs and Border Protection spokesman.
Cubans are staying put in large part because of the economic doldrums in
the United States, experts say. Cuban-Americans here are telling family
members on the island about the tough times, keeping them from making
the dangerous trek across the water or the Southwest border desert, they
"People here are going to say: 'Hey you know what, let the state take
care of you in Cuba, as meager as that is, because I'm hardly making a
living or I'm unemployed,'|" said Rafael Lima, an assistant professor
at the University of Miami who produced two documentary films about Cuba.
Immigration from other areas has slowed as well, although nowhere near
as dramatically. The most recent U.S. Census population estimates show
that in the first three months of this year migration from Mexico and
Central American countries is down by about 2 percent compared to last
year, said Aaron Terrazas, an associate policy analyst at the Migration
Policy Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank.
Since the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1, 3,702 Cubans have asked for
asylum. Last year, 14,061 Cubans made their way into this country.
Almost 90 percent of the ones arriving this year came across the
Southwest border, according to DHS.
Fewer Cubans have been stopped on the water as well.
Coast Guard figures show they've intercepted 513 Cubans since October.
In the same time frame the previous fiscal year, the Coast Guard picked
up 1,308 Cuban migrants. DHS officials attribute the drop to better
inter-agency coordination and stepped up prosecutions of smugglers.
"We're being more effective because were taking the most prolific
smugglers off the water," said Coast Guard Capt. Peter Brown.
Katrin Hansing, associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at
Florida International University, said smugglers may be aware of DHS'
effort. But for Cubans, it's about the economy.
"People on the island are feeling it like everyone else in Latin
America," she said.
The weather also plays a role, Lima and Hansing said. The weather
forecast this week calls for winds around 20 miles per hour most days,
according to the National Weather Service.
"Nobody is going to come from Cuba in those winds," Lima said.
Once the head winds on the water and the economy turn, however, Lima
expects the migration pattern to return to levels seen in the past.
"Watch this summer," he said.
Luis F. Perez can be reached at lfperez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or 954-356-4553.
The number of Cuban immigrants to the United States has declined.
Experts say the recession is to blame. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
(30 April 2009)
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