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    US Reopening Visa and Consular Services at Embassy in Cuba

    US Reopening Visa and Consular Services at Embassy in Cuba

    HAVANA — The United States Embassy in is reopening visa and consular services Wednesday, the first time it has done so since a spate of unexplained health incidents among diplomatic staff in 2017 slashed the American presence in Havana.

    The Embassy confirmed this week it will begin processing immigrant visas, with a priority placed on permits to reunite Cubans with family in the U.S., and others like the diversity visa lottery.

    The resumption comes amid the greatest migratory flight from Cuba in decades, which has placed pressure on the Biden administration to open more legal pathways to Cubans and a dialogue with the Cuban government, despite a historically tense relationship.

    They are anticipated to give out at least 20,000 visas a year, though it's just a drop in the bucket of the migratory tide, which is fueled by intensifying economic and political crises on the island.

    In late December, U.S. authorities reported stopping Cubans 34,675 times along the border in November, up 21% from 28,848 times in October.

    Month-to-month, that number has gradually risen. Cubans are now the second-largest nationality after Mexicans appearing on the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows.

    The growing migration is due to a complex array of factors, including economic, energy and political crises, as well deep discontent among Cubans.

    While the vast majority of Cuban migrants head to the U.S. via…

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