The first of thousands of Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica have entered the United States.
As many as 8,000 Cuban migrants have been stuck in Costa Rica for several months. They traveled from their homes to Ecuador through Colombia and Panama, and into Costa Rica. Nicaragua then denied the migrants entry.
The migrants left Cuba for the United States. They said they feared that they would miss the opportunity to seek asylum in the U.S. Recently improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba could end a policy that gives Cubans asylum rights if they arrive by land.
U.S. and Central American leaders reached an agreement in December. The deal permits the migrants to be flown from Costa Rica to El Salvador, before being taken to the U.S.-Mexico border by bus.
The migrants arrived in Miami Sunday, after 180 of them first crossed the U.S.-Mexico border last week at Laredo, Texas.
The plan will be reviewed by the Central American governments before it is expanded to allow the other Cubans to leave for the U.S.
Officials estimate it will take 28 airplane flights to get all of the Cuban migrants to El Salvador.
I'm George Grow.
VOANews.com reported on this story. Ashley Thompson adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
asylum – n. protection given by a government to someone who has left another country in order to escape being harmed