US Slaps Visa Restrictions on Execs Behind Migrant Charters to Nicaragua

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By LatAm Reports Editor

In a significant policy move, the United States has announced restrictions on visas for business figures involved in arranging migrant charter flights to Nicaragua. This decision, revealed by the State Department on Tuesday, November 21, targets individuals connected to the transportation of migrants from nations like Cuba and Haiti to Nicaragua, a common transit point for those aiming to reach the U.S. by land.

The Biden administration has identified a notable uptick in the number of companies offering such services. These charter flights, according to the State Department, are primarily utilized by migrants seeking irregular entry into the United States, posing risks to the migrants themselves.

The U.S. government acknowledges that many of these migrants do not have a legal basis to enter or remain in the country and are frequently repatriated to their homelands. To combat this issue, U.S. authorities are collaborating with regional governments and the private sector to curb what they deem as an exploitative practice.

The State Department’s statement emphasized the risks faced by Cuban and Haitian migrants who use these charter flights as a starting point for their overland journey to the Mexico-U.S. border. The U.S. encourages potential migrants to consider safer and legal immigration options to the United States.

U.S. Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian A. Nichols, highlighted on a social media platform that the new visa restriction policy specifically targets those facilitating such charter flights. These measures form part of a broader strategy to protect migrants and put an end to these abusive practices.

Recent reports from Nicaraguan media have pointed out the arrival of numerous flights from Haiti, indicating the scale of the situation. Both Haiti and Cuba are currently grappling with severe political and economic challenges. Additionally, a recent flight deported 43 Cuban migrants from Mexico to Havana, with these individuals originally having traveled from Nicaragua. According to the Cuban Ministry of the Interior, over 5,100 irregular migrants have been returned to Cuba from various countries in the region to date.