US urges Haitians and Cubans to seek lawful means of entering the country.

The United States State Department is warning Haitian, Cuban, and other would-be migrants to seek out “safe and lawful pathways” to enter the North American country as it launched a new visa restriction policy targeting individuals running charter flights into Nicaragua designed primarily for irregular migrants.

State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said there is a growing trend where charter flight companies have been offering flights, charging extortion-level prices that put migrants onto a dangerous overland path north to the US border.

Miller said that many of these migrants lack a legal basis for entering or remaining in the United States and are often returned to their home countries, having wasted significant personal resources and putting themselves and their families at risk.

“As part of our comprehensive approach to addressing irregular migration, the US government is taking steps to impose visa restrictions…against owners, executives, and/or senior officials of companies providing charter flights into Nicaragua designed for use primarily by irregular migrants to the United States,” Miller said.

“These charter flights and their operators target migrants and put them in harm’s way. We are also engaging with governments in the region, as well as the private sector, to seek to eliminate this exploitative practice,” he added.

Miller said Washington was urging migrants, especially Haitians and Cubans, to seek out the many safe and lawful pathways available to migrate to the United States.

“This administration has led the largest expansion of lawful pathways in decades, and continues to enforce consequences, including removal to their home country, for those who do not use these pathways to come to the United States,” Miller warned.

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