Biden faces potential new refugee crisis amid turmoil in Haiti, Cuba

New York

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned this week that anyone considering fleeing Cuba or Haiti by boat would not be allowed to seek asylum in the United States, even if they demonstrate a credible fear of persecution in their home country.

“If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” Mayorkas, a Cuban refugee who fled Fidel Castro’s regime with his family in 1960, said during a press conference Tuesday.

“This risk is not worth taking,” he said, noting that 20 people have died during such voyages in recent weeks.

“Any migrant intercepted at sea, regardless of their nationality, will not be permitted to enter the United States.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, flanked, right, by Vice President Kamala Harris and, left, by Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, talks to the media in El Paso, Texas, in June.

Mayorkas’s comments, which were echoed by White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday, did not reflect any change in U.S. policy, nor were they, according to Mayorkas, issued in response to a recent surge in migrants encountered off U.S. shores from either country. Both Cuba and Haiti currently face significant political upheaval.—AP

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