Cuba accepts US deportation flights

Cuba has agreed for the first time since the pandemic to accept U.S. deportation flights transporting Cubans captured at the U.S.-Mexico border, three U.S. sources told Reuters, giving U.S. officials a new but limited tool to deter record numbers of Cubans crossing the border.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has about a dozen Cubans in custody who failed an initial asylum screening at the border, officials said, requesting anonymity to discuss the diplomatic situation. The US agency is waiting until it has enough Cuban deportees to fill a plane before sending one to Havana.

A third source familiar with the matter said there was no new formal agreement for scheduled deportation flights, but that Cuba had agreed to accept occasional groups of deportees.

Regular deportations of Cubans have come to a halt during the Covid-19 pandemic, although the United States continues to deport small numbers of Cubans through commercial airlines, another US official told Reuters.

The US State Department, the White House and ICE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News