News and Facts about Cuba

U.S. wants Canada to take refugees from Iraq, Cuba

U.S. wants to take refugees from Iraq, Cuba
Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The United States is calling on Canada to accept more refugees
driven from Iraq in the wake of the turmoil there.

American officials also want Canada to take about 40 Cuban refugees now
housed at the American naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba.

Ellen Sauerbery, an American assistant secretary of state, spent two
days in Ottawa this week discussing the matter with foreign affairs and
immigration officials.

Canadian officials say no policy decisions have been made.

Ms. Sauerbery said many Iraqis who fled to Syria or Jordan, including
victims of torture, women and children, and members of the small
Christian minority, will never be able to return to Iraq.

"We've encouraged Canada to make this a priority in their resettlement
policy because this is an area of tremendous need and vulnerability,"
she told reporters.

She said she's been told Canada has already accepted 49 such Iraqi refugees.

The Cubans at Guantanamo were plucked from the sea by the American coast
guard while trying to escape their homeland.

Ms. Sauerbery said most migrants are economic refugees and in no danger
of political and are routinely returned to Cuba. But the 40
at the naval base, along with a handful of Haitians, are deemed to be
legitimate refugees, she said.

"Canada has been very helpful in taking Haitians, but at this point has
not taken Cubans. We would welcome Canada's assistance."

She said Canadian officials said they would look into the matter.

Ms. Sauerbery also said the United States is planning for a new wave of
migration when , the ailing Cuban leader, dies.

"A lot of people may see this as an opportunity to escape. We are laying
out a strategy to try to discourage a mass migration, but at the same
time we can't guarantee it won't occur."

Canadian officials would not speculate on Castro's or the
possible repercussions of his dead after more than four decades in power.

Canada has accepted refugees from many trouble spot over the years,
including , Africa and the Balkans.

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