Migration Talks with Cuba

Alex Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Havana, Cuba
January 22, 2015

Also available in Spanish

Today, January 21, 2015, U.S. and Cuban officials met in Havana to discuss technical issues related to the Migration Accords of 1994 and 1995 between the United States and Cuba. The Cuban delegation was chaired by the Foreign Ministry’s Director General for U.S. Affairs, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro. I led the delegation for the United States. The United States hosted the last round of these semi-annual talks in July 2014 in Washington.

The United States and Cuba restated their commitment under the Migration Accords to ensure that migration between the two countries remains safe, legal and orderly. They also agreed to regularly review the implementation of these Accords. Continuing to ensure safe and legal migration between Cuba and the United States is consistent with our interest in promoting greater freedoms and increased respect for human rights in Cuba.

The productive and collaborative nature of today’s discussion proves that, despite the clear differences that remain between our countries, the United States and Cuba can find opportunities to advance our mutually shared interests as well as engage in a respectful and thoughtful dialogue. In addition to discussing the bilateral implementation of the Migration Accords, we exchanged ideas on other aspects of safe migration, such as the return of Cuban Excludable Aliens, the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, and the monitoring of repatriated Cuban nationals.

These were the first Migration Talks held after the changes in the direction and tenor of our bilateral relationship that were announced last month by our nations’ presidents. They reflected this new emphasis on engagement and dialogue. We look forward to continued progress on the issues we covered today.