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Tens of thousands fear deportation as US-Cuba relations thaw
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Tens of thousands fear deportation as US-Cuba relations thaw

In this photo taken July 16, 2015, attorneys Grisel Ybarra, left, and Monica Barba Neumann look over documents at their office in Miami. Ybarra and Neumann represent several clients who could face deportation. With the US and Cuba inching closer to fully restoring diplomatic ties, including re-opening embassies for the first time in 54 years, the future is murky for tens of thousands of Cuban immigrants who have been ordered by immigration authorities to leave the country. As many as 25,000 immigrants who have outstanding deportation orders live in the U.S. legally but are considered priorities for immigration enforcement agents, according to data maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those priorities include people with serious criminal convictions or who pose a threat to national security. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

MIAMI (AP) — With the United States and Cuba inching closer to fully restoring diplomatic ties, including re-opening embassies for the first time in 54 years, the future is murky for tens of thousands of Cuban immigrants who have been ordered by immigration authorities to leave the country.

As many as 25,000 Cubans living in the United States have outstanding deportation orders, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They include people who pose a threat to national security or have serious criminal convictions and are considered priorities for immigration enforcement agents.

Despite being an enforcement priority, those immigrants haven’t yet been sent back to Cuba because the government of President Raul Castro has not given them permission to return. It’s unclear whether the Cuban government’s position will change.

Sisi, a 50-year-old grandmother who moved to Miami with her family when she was 4, is one of those waiting and wondering what the future holds.

As a teenager in the 1980s, Sisi married a man involved in South Florida’s booming cocaine trade. By the middle of the decade she’d become involved in the business herself and eventually served 2

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