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In this Friday, March 24, 2017 photo, Cuban Elaide Vilchez carries her one-month-old daughter Emily Melania Garcia during a religious procession adapted to reflect the plight of immigrants, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, across the border from Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
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Mexico starts giving residency to stranded Cubans

In this Friday, March 24, 2017 photo, Cuban Elaide Vilchez carries her one-month-old daughter Emily Melania Garcia during a religious procession adapted to reflect the plight of immigrants, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, across the border from Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government says it has started the process of giving residency permits to 588 Cuban migrants who have been stranded in the border city of Nuevo Laredo since the U.S. ‘changed its immigration policy in January.

The National Immigration Institute says the permits don’t constitute political asylum or refugee status because the Cubans don’t “face any type of persecution.”

The institute said Friday the first 273 of the Cubans will soon get residency permits that will allow them to work.

Washington’s former policy gave Cubans who reached U.S. soil an automatic path to legal residency.

The United States ended the policy on Jan. 12 as a part of normalizing ties with Cuba.

Other Cubans found further south in Mexico have simply been sent back to Cuba.

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