In the midst of the largest Cuban migration to South Florida in a decade, the U.S. embassy in Cuba is renewing its visa and consular services.
The embassy is set to start processing immigrant visas as the U.S. looks to aid in the reunion of families that were broken up in their quest to leave the communist-run island country.
The announcement comes on the heels of at least two dozen Cuban migrants being rescued from small boats by commercial cruise liners. The past weekend alone saw more than 300 migrants from Cuba touching down on the continental United States.
According to NPR, the embassy will process 20,000 visa applications, which would provide many more people with a legal and safe route to enter. In November, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol encountered Cuban migrants 34,675 times along the Mexican border, which was a 21 percent jump from October when 28,848 migrants were stopped by officials.
Efforts by the U.S. to quell migrant tensions with Cuba have been ongoing and officials have conducted several talks in recent months surrounding migration with Havana.
"Engaging in these talks underscores our commitment to pursuing constructive discussions with the government of Cuba where appropriate to advance U.S. interests," the U.S.Embassy in Cuba said in a statement.