Reps. Mario Díaz-Balart, María Elvira Salazar and Carlos Giménez highlighted to President Joe Biden the need for the reestablishment of regular consular services in Cuba.
In a letter dated February 3, the three Republican representatives from Florida also requested that priority consular access be given to Cuban advocates of democratic change and human rights, as well as those with urgent humanitarian or medical needs.
“It was particularly insulting to many in our districts when agents of the regime and their favorites, such as professional baseball players, were able to access consular services on the island, while the vast majority of the most deserving Cubans were forced to travel to a third country at considerable expense,” the letter reads.
Salazar, Díaz-Balart and Giménez suggested that applicants be carefully vetted to ensure that no human rights abusers can enter the United States. They also asked Biden to resume as soon as possible the processing of applications for the Cuban Family Reunification Permit Program (CFRP), which was put on hold in 2018 following health problems suffered by diplomats and staff of the U.S. mission in Havana.
They recalled that to remedy the situation they introduced the bipartisan Cuban Family Reunification Modernization for Cubans Act in Congress in 2021, which authorizes the State Department in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to resume processing CFRP applications. The lawmakers also urged the President to carefully consider how security and other non-U.S. personnel are selected at the U.S. mission in Cuba.