Local Leaders Say There Are No Funds to Assist Incoming Cuban Migrants

Jan 6, 2016

The mayors of Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami and a Hialeah commissioner are worried. They all say the county's not financially prepared for the imminent arrival of thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica.

Last week,  a deal was made to airlift the  Cuban migrants stuck in Costa Rica to El Salvador so they can travel through Mexico to the U.S.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez thinks it should be the job of the federal government to take care of the migrants.  

Nora Gamez Torres covered the story for el Nuevo Herald. She says that the U.S.  government has yet to publicly respond to the matter. This leaves local leaders wondering if their concerns will be taken seriously on a federal level.

“I think the question, the big question is, what is  the U.S. going to do in terms of, you know, the migration policy towards Cuba. Because every time there's a crisis like this, there's usually some changes in the immigration policy,” said Torres.

Torres also says many Cuban migrants have already exhausted their own money in trying to get to Central America and are now relying on funds from family here in the U.S.

“When you have such a big number, almost 8,000 in Costa Rica and another 1,000 in Panama, for sure you're gonna find people who don't have family here in the U.S. So that's why we need like the federal government and local authorities and churches involved,” said Torres.

Miami Mayor Thomas Regalado said the local aid system temporarily finances the stay of only about 60 underprivileged families in motels.

He emphasized the annual budget is nearly $1 million and cannot be stretched further.