[JURIST] Mexico and Cuba on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding [text, in Spanish] aimed at combating the rising number of Cuban illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive] attempting to reach the US through Mexico. The agreement requires Mexican authorities to deport any illegal Cuban immigrants taken into custody by Mexican authorities, including immigrants who have illegally entered Mexico directly or through Central American countries. The agreement also establishes greater cooperation between Mexico and Cuba in the areas of human trafficking and smuggling. In a speech [text, in Spanish] following the signing of the agreement, Mexican Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino Terrazo [official profile, in Spanish] said:
Without a doubt one of the fruits of our renewed bilateral relationship is the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of the United Mexican States to ensure a legal, orderly, and safe flow between both countries. This agreement also strengthens mechanisms to prevent and combat illegal migration, smuggling, and human trafficking, among other crimes.Reuters has more. The Los Angeles Times has additional coverage.
The increasing numbers of Cuban immigrants attempting to gain entry to the US through the Mexican border have been attributed to strengthened air and sea patrols [CBP backgrounder] of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) [agency website]. Additionally, increased enforcement activities, including mass arrests of illegal immigrants by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website], have put pressure on immigrants entering the US illegally. Earlier this month, more than 300 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested [JURIST report] at a poultry processing plant in South Carolina. In May, ICE arrested nearly 400 illegal immigrants [AP report] during an immigration sting at an Agriprocessors Inc. [corporate website] meatpacking plant in Iowa, in what federal officials then called the largest operation of its kind. Nearly 300 of those arrested were sentenced to five months in prison [JURIST report] and 27 more received probation after pleading guilty to the use of false immigration documents. Also in May, ICE arrested more than 900 illegal immigrants in California [ICE press release] during a three-week enforcement surge.