Central American leaders announced thousands of Cuban migrants who were on the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border will be airlifted to El Salvador and placed on buses that will travel to the United States. This migration is the result of a forceful push by Pope Francis that Central American leaders help migrants reach the U.S.
Foreign ministers of several Central American countries met in Guatemala City where they reached the agreement Monday on how to deport the Cuban migrants to the U.S. The governments that made this decision are part of the Central American Integration System, known by its Spanish initials as SICA, as well as Mexican government officials.
The current migration crisis dates back to Nov. 15 when the Nicaraguan government turned away thousands of Cubans at its border. The Cuban migrants got to Central America by flying to Ecuador, a country that did not require entry visas. Since the migration crisis began, Ecuador now requires Cubans to come into the country with visas.
The pope made immigration issues a theme of his visit to the U.S. in September, and it is known that it will be a central theme of his upcoming trip to Mexico in February.
Of the Vatican’s 800 residents, only 450 are citizens of the country according to a 2012 report by the Library of Congress. It was only in 2006 members of the Swiss Guard, which is in charge of the pope’s security, were allowed to apply for citizenship.
The U.S. government was not involved in the talks which led to Cuban migrants being deported from Costa Rica. The deportation will begin with 250 Cubans going on the first flight to El Salvador from Costa Rica.
At a campaign rally Monday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush stated he believed the Cuban migrants “Shouldn’t have, and I don’t think they do have — free entry into this country. We have to have an immigration system based on the law, and if those laws don’t work, to change the law,” according to The Miami Herald.
It is not known when the migrants will arrive at the U.S. border.