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Stranded Cuban Migrants Begin Arriving in US


Cuban migrants arrive after traveling en route from Costa Rica to El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, before heading to the U.S., at General Lucio Blanco International airport in Reynosa, in Tamaulipas state, Mexico, Jan. 17, 2016.
Cuban migrants arrive after traveling en route from Costa Rica to El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, before heading to the U.S., at General Lucio Blanco International airport in Reynosa, in Tamaulipas state, Mexico, Jan. 17, 2016.

The first of several thousand Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica have crossed into the United States under a plan agreed to among Central American leaders.

The migrants arrived in Miami Sunday, after 180 of them first crossed the U.S. border late last week at Laredo, Texas.

The deal allows the migrants to be flown from Costa Rica to El Salvador, before being taken to the U.S. border by bus.

This pilot effort will be evaluated by the Central American governments before it is expanded to allow all the Cubans to leave for the U.S.

FILE - A Cuban woman migrant uses her cellphone while other Cubans sleep outside the border control building in Penas Blancas, Costa Rica, on the border with Nicaragua, which closed its borders to Cuban migrants, Nov. 21, 2015.
FILE - A Cuban woman migrant uses her cellphone while other Cubans sleep outside the border control building in Penas Blancas, Costa Rica, on the border with Nicaragua, which closed its borders to Cuban migrants, Nov. 21, 2015.

Officials estimate it will take 28 flights to get the Cubans to El Salvador.

As many as 8,000 Cuban migrants have been stuck in Costa Rica for several months after traveling from their home to Ecuador through Colombia and Panama, and then into Costa Rica, before being denied entry by Nicaragua.

The migrants left their home for the United States fearing improved relations between Washington and Havana will end a Cold War-era policy that grants Cubans preferential treatment if they arrive in the U.S. by land.

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