A group of 91 Cubans who were stranded in Mexico following an end to migration policy that would have allowed them entry to the United States was deported to the island Friday, the Mexican authorities announce
“In compliance with the provisions of the Migration Law, 91 Cuban nationals were sent to their country this morning from the airport in Tapachula Chiapas, after Cuban authorities issued a recognition of their nationality,” according to a statement issued by the Mexican National Institute of Migration (INM).
The group included 20 women and 71 men who, according to the INM, were waiting to obtain transit documents to continue their their journey to the U.S. border.
Yadel González Sagre, who had been in Tapachula for 19 days, was among those returned to the island. He said he and others were taken from the Siglo XXI Migrant Station early Friday.
“Suddenly they told us that they were going to deport us and they got us all out of there. It was terrible, they beat us and threatened us. Then they pushed us into buses and from there they took us directly to the airport and they have been sending us in small groups,” González said via text messages.
González said he feared returning to a life he described as “hell” in his native Havana.
“We live in a country without rights,” he said.
In its statement, the INM pointed out that Mexico’s Migration Law provides undocumented foreigners the ability to obtain transit documents that allow them to legally travel through Mexico for up to 20 days so that they can legalize their migration status to leave the country.
In the case of 91 Cubans, the Consulate General of Cuba formally recognized and agreed to take back its citizens, allowing Mexican authorities to carry out deportations, INM said.
Since the Jan. 12 end to U.S. immigration policy known as wet foot, dry foot, hundreds of Cubans have been stranded in Mexico and elsewhere in their attempt to reach the United States.