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The Statesman | Tensions simmer as Cubans breeze across Texas border





Julia Preston, The Statesman:

LAREDO — A fast-rising influx of Cubans are crossing the border into Texas by the hundreds each day, approved to enter the United States in a matter of hours.

They walk out to a Laredo street and are greeted by volunteers from Cubanos en Libertad, or Cubans in Freedom, a nonprofit. The volunteers help them arrange travel to their U.S. destination — often Miami — and start applying for work permits and such federal benefits as food stamps and Medicaid, available by law to Cubans immediately after their arrival.

“Right now I feel like the freest Cuban in the whole world,” said Rodny Nápoles, 39, a coach of the Cuban national women’s water polo team who crossed into Laredo this week.

 

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