President Obama has been all over the news recently talking about how the U.S. has begun normalizing relations with Cuba and the communist Castro regime. Many people in the U.S. think that decision is long over due, but many Cuban-Americans on both sides of the political aisle do not support the President’s Actions.
I have blogged before about the immigration changes that may come about with a full normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and these changes are not good for Cuban immigrants. See https://www.floridaimmigrationlawyerblog.com/2014/12/normalizing_diplomatic_relatio.html
It turns out those fears may come to fruition if some Cuban-American politicians have their way. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republic Senator Marco Rubio, both of Cuban heritage, have publicly stated that the Cuban Adjustment Act should be “re-examined” in light of the President’s efforts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2015/02/02/Cuban-Americans-in-Congress-call-for-changes-in-immigration-law/1461422897868/
The Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) is a special immigration benefit passed by Congress in 1966 that was originally designed to give green cards to Cuban nationals who escaped from the communist island and came to the U.S. for political refuge.
Senators Menendez and Rubio are concerned that economic refugees, rather than political ones, are taking advantage of the law and special immigration benefits, and that was never the intent of the law. The politicians see normalizing relations with the communist Castro regime in Cuba as recognizing the government and its politics as legitimate. They believe that offering political refuge to any and all Cubans who make it to the U.S. makes little sense if we do not publicly oppose the political situation from which they are seeking refuge.
Cuban-Americans are split on the issue. Many recent migrants would like the CAA to remain as it is, so that refugees of all kinds, political, economic, and religious, can come to the U.S. and enjoy the special benefits bestowed upon Cubans. However, many Cuban-Americans whose families fled Cuba decades ago believe that the law should be limited to political refugees who flee communism for the capitalist freedoms that we enjoy in the U.S.
Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on, or when your family immigrated from Cuba, one this is likely, the special immigration benefits that Cuban nationals enjoy in the U.S. are in jeopardy due to the President’s decision to normalize relations with the communist Castro regime in Cuba.
John Gihon is an immigration and criminal defense attorney with the Law Offices of Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon. You can email him at John@slgattorneys.com or follow him on twitter: @JohnGihon