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Officials Arrest, Hold 36 Cubans Trying to Enter U.S. From Mexico

From Reuters

At least 36 Cubans have been arrested in recent days trying to enter the United States along Mexico’s border with Texas, federal authorities said Thursday.

Although U.S. officials say they believe that the Cubans had left for Mexico before the flood of boat people began toward Florida, they expressed concern that more Cubans may seek to enter the United States by first traveling to Mexico.

The distance between Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula is roughly the same as the distance from the island nation to the Florida Keys.

In Mexico City, the foreign ministry announced Thursday that Mexico is prepared to take in Cuban citizens who wish to leave their island nation if they have family members in Mexico who are willing to support them. It was not immediately clear how many Cubans would be able to take advantage of the offer.

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At least 24 Cubans were arrested Sunday in Laredo, Tex., after arriving by boat on the Yucatan Peninsula sometime in July and then traveling by land to the United States, U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief Guadalupe Aguirre said.

Another group of 12 Cubans made their way to the border this week after apparently arriving in Mexico by plane. They were arrested after crossing the Rio Grande near Laredo.

Unlike Cubans trying to reach Florida, those arrested in Texas will appear before federal officials, who will consider applications for political asylum because they were arrested in the United States, authorities said.

The Cubans are being held at a detention facility in Port Isabel, near Brownsville in southern Texas, authorities said.

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Federal authorities also said Thursday that other Cuban refugees may be sent to the Port Isabel facility.


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