Biden revises some Cuba travel restrictions, restarts family reunification program Trump ended




  • In Politics
  • 2022-05-16 23:40:23Z
  • By USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration announced Monday it will ease some travel restrictions to Cuba and restart a family reunification program as part of a series of measures aimed at supporting "Cubans' aspirations for freedom."

"We continue to call on the Cuban government to immediately release political prisoners, to respect the Cuban people's fundamental freedoms and to allow the Cuban people to determine their own futures," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

The State Department said it increase capacity for consular services, such as resuming limited immigrant visa processing in Havana. The administration will also expand authorized travel to Cuba, including authorizing scheduled and charter flights to locations beyond Havana.

In addition, group people-to-people travel and other group education travel will be reinstated. The State Department also said that it will remove the current limit on family remittances of $1,000 per quarter per sender-receiver pair. In addition, the administration will authorize donative remittances.

People participate in a rally outside the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in support of the protesters in Cuba.
People participate in a rally outside the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in support of the protesters in Cuba.  

The policy changes come after a review that began soon after a series of widespread protests on the island last July.

Former President Donald Trump had increased sanctions against Cuba, including the cancellation of permits to send remittances and the punishment of oil tankers bound for the island.

These measures and the pandemic contributed to an economic crisis in Cuba, where people suffer from shortages of basic products, power outages and rationing.

The economic situation led thousands of people to the streets across Cuba on July 11, 2021 - the largest such protests in decades on the island. Many people were frustrated with shortages and low salaries, as well with the socialist government. Nongovernmental organizations have reported more than 1,400 arrests and 500 people sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for vandalism or sedition.

Some lawmakers were critical of the administration's announcement.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., whose parents are Cuban immigrants, criticized the administration for easing restrictions on travel to the country, saying that it sends "the wrong message to the wrong people, at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons."

Menendez said that increased group travel is "akin to tourism" and does not help the Cuban people.

"To be clear, those who still believe that increasing travel will breed democracy in Cuba are simply in a state of denial," Menendez said in a statement. "For decades, the world has been traveling to Cuba and nothing has changed. For years, the United States foolishly eased travel restrictions arguing millions of American dollars would bring about freedom and nothing changed."

The New Jersey Democrat did praise the administration for restarting the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, saying it was "an overdue step to strengthen the ties between Cuban families on the island and in the United States."

Contributing: Associated Press

Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden revises Cuba policies, reverses Trump travel restrictions

COMMENTS

More Related News

Democratic women call on Biden, Congress to protect federal abortion rights
Democratic women call on Biden, Congress to protect federal abortion rights
  • US
  • 2022-06-26 17:16:08Z

Leading Democratic women called on President Joe Biden and Congress on Sunday to protect abortion rights nationwide after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned...

Agents Are Blocked From Using Discretion in Deportation Arrests
Agents Are Blocked From Using Discretion in Deportation Arrests

A Biden administration policy that prioritized the arrest of immigrants living in the country illegally who are considered a threat to public safety and...

G-7 to ban Russian gold in response to Ukraine war, Biden says
G-7 to ban Russian gold in response to Ukraine war, Biden says

President Joe Biden says the Group of Seven leading economies will ban imports of gold from Russia

Biden administration halts limits on ICE arrests following court ruling
Biden administration halts limits on ICE arrests following court ruling

Republican officials in Texas and Louisiana convinced a federal judge to block rules that directed ICE to focus on arresting immigrants deemed to threaten...

Biden administration signals fight over medication abortion
Biden administration signals fight over medication abortion
  • US
  • 2022-06-25 11:05:29Z

President Joe Biden's administration indicated it will seek to prevent states from banning a pill used for medication abortion in light of the Supreme Court ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics