BOGOTA – The more than 2,000 Cuban migrants who have congregated in the northwestern Colombian border town of Turbo near the Panamanian border and who want to continue their journeys to the United States, will be deported to their home country or to the country they came from to illegally enter Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday.
According to what Santos told local media, Colombian authorities are speaking with the migrants to learn if “they prefer to return to their countries of origin or ... to return to the country they came from” to enter Colombia.
He also said that Colombian authorities are trying to prevent more migrants from entering the country.
In addition, Santos said that authorities had detailed people who were facilitating “people smuggling” and are investigating officials who might be the accomplices of traffickers in undocumented migrants and “who may be providing them with false documents to ... facilitate their transit.”
Turbo is the main Caribbean port in Colombia’s Uraba region and, due to its geographic position, it is used by Cubans, Asians and Africans as a springboard for traveling to the United States via Panama.
Last week, the Turbo Mayor’s Office declared a public emergency due to the presence of the Cuban migrants, of whom 1,273 are being housed in a warehouse and others nearby.
Over the past two months, Colombia has deported 5,800 illegal migrants, most of them Haitian or Cuban, according to figures compiled by Colombian immigration authorities.