HAVANA.-Delegations from Cuba and the United States met on Wednesday in Washington, in a new round of immigration talks, the Foreign Ministry of Cuba reported.

A press release stated that the delegations were headed by Carlos Fernández de Cossío, U.S. director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex) and Gabriel Escobar, coordinator of the State Department's Office of Cuban Affairs.

Both sides recognized the benefits of the January 12, 2017 Joint Statement, in particular the elimination of the wet-foot, dry-foot policy and the parole program for Cuban medical professionals, in reducing irregular migration, the Foreign Ministry said.

In an interview with the Cuban News Agency this week, Yuri Gala López, director of bilateral issues at the Minrex's U.S. directorate general, reiterated that Cuba follows to the letter the commitments on migration agreed to with the U.S. government, the last of them through a Joint Declaration initialed on January 12, 2017.

The parties agreed on the usefulness of the exchange between Cuban Guradafronteras and the US Coast Guard in January 2018 and the technical meeting on human trafficking and migration fraud in December 2017.

On this occasion, compliance with bilateral agreements was reviewed in order to guarantee regular, safe and orderly migration, discourage irregular migration and prevent and deal with the associated illegal acts.

The Cuban presenters at the meeting showed that Cuba is rigorously fulfilling its obligations, and reiterated its willingness to maintain and expand bilateral cooperation in this area.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (CBP), since January 12 of last year that nation adopted measures that have resulted in a significant reduction in irregular or illegal migration, as it is also known.

CBP data consulted by the ACN corroborate the deterrent effect of the Joint Declaration and the substantial decrease of irregular migrants to that nation: in fiscal year 2016 -which in the U.S. begins on October 1 of the previous year- 41,523 Cuban citizens arrived at the border crossings of that country with Mexico; in 2017 they decreased to 15,410 and until June 30, 2010 they barely exceeded 4,700.

A South Florida news channel reported last April that only 144 Cubans had attempted to enter illegally by sea since October 1, 2017, compared to 1,951 in the previous fiscal calendar.

The Cuban delegation urged the U.S. government in the immigration round to fully comply with its commitments to issue visas for emigrants, in accordance with the Immigration Agreements.

It also stated that the decision to suspend visa processing services at his Embassy in Havana directly affects migratory relations, family ties, institutional exchanges and travel between the two countries.

Cubans expressed concern about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which, along with other U.S. regulations, encourages irregular migration of Cubans and exposes them to becoming victims of illegal traffickers and gangs associated with organized crime.