(USA Features) Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned on Tuesday that asylum seekers escaping unrest in Cuba and Haiti by sea won’t be permitted in the United States, even as critics blast the administration’s perceived reluctance to adopt policies that would reduce illegal immigration along the border with Mexico.
“Allow me to be clear: if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” Mayorkas told a press conference on Tuesday.
“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” Mayorkas said. “They will not enter the United States.”
Mayorkas, who himself is an immigrant from Cuba, did not say which countries would serve as substitutes, though Australia has taken in Cuban and Haitian refugees in the past.
His warning comes amid twin crises in both countries.
Thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the country’s ongoing poor economic conditions as well as its Communist leadership. Meanwhile, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated last week in an early morning raid that wounded his wife and reportedly involved a DEA snitch.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed the U.S. for unrest in the nation, citing longstanding sanctions.
“We are not going to hand over the sovereignty or the independence of people. There are many revolutionaries in this country who are willing to give our lives, we are willing to do anything, and we will be in the streets fighting,” Diaz-Canel said Sunday, according to the Miami Herald.
Critics ripped Mayorkas and the Biden administration on social media sites including Twitter.
Guess they don’t think Cubans will vote Democratic, ergo they don’t have a claim for asylum https://t.co/jhOujVassw
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) July 13, 2021
“Guess they don’t think Cubans will vote Democratic, ergo they don’t have a claim for asylum,” wrote Real Clear Investigations senior correspondent Mark Hemingway on Tuesday.
“Why the sudden 180° shift in our open-borders policy when it comes to refugees fleeing socialist countries?” another Twitter user said.
“Does he think they’ll tell Americans how it really is under socialism or does he just not like how they’re going to vote when they become citizens?”