US denies their political asylum request
HAVANA TIMES — A Cuban couple, who were the first victims of the end of the preferential “wet foot/dry foot” policy after arriving at Miami International Airport in January, will finally be deported back to the island.
In a 12-page verdict, an immigration judge refused 67 year old Aquilino Caraballo’s request for asylum, who had a hearing to put his case forward on March 10th.
His wife, 64 year old Georgina Hernandez, is still waiting for her hearing, however, immigration lawyer Willy Allen, who is representing the couple, has said that he won’t ask for it to be suspended, as the arguments were the same for the both of them and the precedent of the judge’s verdict weighs quite heavy against them.
Factors against them
“I think there were several factors in this case, such as the fact that both of them had traveled outside of Cuba and had visited their daughter in the US a month before they had decided to return to stay definitively, that really tipped the scales against them,” explained Allen.
Aquilino is expected to be deported in the next few days, which won’t be at the same time that the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Office (ICE) decide to let his wife go back.
The negative ruling sets a strong precedent for Cuban asylum cases after Barack Obama turned the tables with this immigration policy, which is being upheld by Donald Trump’s administration.
A day too late
Aquilino and Georgina, residents of Batabano, in the south of Havana, arrived at Miami International Airport on January 13th with the aim to seek political asylum and thereby definitively reunite themselves with their children. This came a day after Washington announced its new immigration law with regard to Cuban immigrants.
The couple’s two children have been living in the US for years and are US citizens.
The couple has already been detained for over 120 days. Georgina is being held at a detention center in Pompano Beach, and 67 year old Aquilino is at the Krome center.
Both of them had traveled with visitors visas but once they had landed, they requested political asylum. They were immediately arrested as they hadn’t realized that the special protection law for Cuban immigrants had changed so drastically 24 hours beforehand.
The Caraballo-Gonzalez couple made a living in agriculture in Cuba, thanks to a small plot their family had.