Feds open Texas border to 4,000 Cubans, security interview lasts just 1 hour before release

By PAUL BEDARD • 5/12/16 8:59 AM

U.S. Border Patrol officials are opening up the Texas border to let 4,000 Cubans in, taking about an hour to interview them and check their criminal background, before letting them enter the United States on their own where most will stay for life.

Aware that Panama had airlifted nearly 250 of 4,000 Cubans to the Mexican border near El Paso, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said it stands ready to process the new immigrants with speed, in fact faster it takes many Americans to get a drivers license or buy a gun.

In an email to the Center for Immigration Studies, which has charted the explosion of Cuban immigration since President Obama approved warmer relations, the Border Patrol said that it "is prepared to process the expected increase in Cubans applying for admission at El Paso area ports of entry. CBP officers will process Cuban nationals in accordance with established procedures as expeditiously as possible while maintaining requirements and standards for individuals in our care."

In a blog post, the center described how border agents planned to process the new Cubans.

The El Paso Field Office described CBP Cuban processing as follows:

— Cuban citizens presents themselves for admission at a port of entry. They must provide proof of their Cuban citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate. The burden of proof rests on the Cubans to prove their citizenship.

— Once citizenship is established, CBP officers ask if they are members of the Cuban regime or work for the Cuban government, among other questions.

— CBP officers next take fingerprint scans and check against CBP's national law enforcement databases. If no derogatory information is returned, the process continues.

— At the conclusion of the interview process, if no derogatory information is returned – such as criminal or existing U.S. immigration history or otherwise disqualifying factors like membership in Castro regime or use of fraudulent documents – the person is processed for parole

— The CBP officer issues the traveler an I-94 parole document with the subject's temporary alien number written on the back. The parole document is valid for two years. (One year after inspection and admission to the U.S., Cubans paroled into the U.S. may apply for adjustment of status under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 in order to receive permanent U.S. residency – a green card).

— The entire process takes approximately one hour per person