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State Dept. Answers Question on Jeb Bush Challenge to Cuban Repatriation

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03080440 (posted Aug. 4, 2003)"

Daily Press Briefing
U.S. Department of State
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 1, 2003

QUESTION: In the Miami Herald today, Governor Jeb Bush publicly disagreed with this Administration on the repatriation of these 12 alleged hijackers which occurred, I think, a week-and-a-half ago on the 21st or 22nd.

What is your comment on the Governor’s statement today saying,  It’s just not right ? Thank you.

MR. BOUCHER: I think, first of all, I think the White House has already been asked on the comments, on the politics of the situation, and I m not going to get into that from here. I’d just say these repatriations are consistent with standard practice under the Migration Accords with Cuba. Experts from the Department of Homeland Security interviewed, as they always do interview all individuals, to determine whether they have protection  concerns. Those who are determined to have protection concerns are sent to Guantanamo for further interviews, and those who are not are repatriated.

We have reiterated many times, and do so again today, that only safe, legal, and orderly migration should take place from Cuba to the United States.

QUESTION: There are -- Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism. And in reference to this, did --there was an exchange back and forth before the actual repatriation occurred.

Given the fact that it is a state sponsor of terrorism, does this sort of business go against the U.S. policy of not negotiating with, you know, terrorist states?

MR. BOUCHER: The issue of migration has been one that s important to the United States. We’ve had longstanding agreements on safe, orderly migration which we expect the Cubans to meet. And that is the way we believe people should be allowed to come to the United States from Cuba.

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