Protesters Demand Reinstatement of Cuban Family Reunification Program

The program was suspended in 2017 by the Trump administration and has been "in limbo" ever since


Hundreds of Cubans held a protest in Miami on Sunday demanding to reactivate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP).

The program was suspended in 2017 by the Trump administration and has been "in limbo" ever since.

Organizers of the protest say Cubans gathered around noon at the Cuban Memorial Park - holding banners that read "Yes, Cuban Parole Program."

Efe Gretel Moreno is part of Cubans United for Family Reunification, a group created in 2017 as a result of the decrease in staff at the US embassy in Cuba. The group already has more than 44,000 members.

According to her, there is no justification for stopping the program.

"There are many cases of people who are expecting children and siblings," Moreno said.

In September 2017, the United States responded to the alleged "sonic attacks" suffered by at least 21 of its officials in Cuba by ordering the withdrawal of most of its personnel on the island - asking Americans not to travel there and suspend the supply of visas from the embassy in Havana.

"What we are looking for is that they solve the problem, taking into account the security of (US) officials, and that visas are processed even by videoconference," Moreno said.

Last November, Florida Democratic congressmen Donna Shalala and Debbie Murcasel-Powell presented a bill (HR 4884) to reactivate the reunification program for Cuban families.

The new bill required that the State Department begin processing new applications within 30 days, and complete those already submitted.

In order to protect the safety of immigration officers, the proposal asked that interviews to grant family reunification be done through videoconferencing.

But, according to Moreno, the program has not yet been reactivated.

The reunification program was initially launched in 2007 under former President George W. Bush, and, according to Congresswoman Debbie Murcasel-Powell, until its suspension, three-fourths of Cubans admitted to the United States came through the program.

But, for now, gathered at the park on Sunday, and just a few steps from the famous Calle Ocho, protesters are chanting "Open the Parole, open the Parole!"

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