Rep. David Rivera proposes changes in the Cuban Adjustment Act

Juan Tamayo in the Miami Herald:

Rivera seeks to restrict some Cubans from returning to Cuba

A congressman seeks to impose sanctions on Cubans if they return to the island within a few years after leaving.

U.S. Rep. David Rivera said Tuesday he wants to sanction Cuban Americans who return to the island less than five years after they left, alleging that they are abusing a loophole in the Cuban Adjustment Act and helping the country’s communist system.

The South Florida Republican submitted a bill on Aug. 1 to deal with the growing complaint that Cubans benefit from the CAA as refuge-seekers but then return to the island just to visit relatives or even to vacation.

Approved in 1966 for the tens of thousands of Cubans who were fleeing the communist government at the height of the Cold War, the CAA offers U.S. residency 366 days after arrival and other benefits. Citizens of no other country receive such benefits.

“The original intent of the CAA was to provide status to Cuban refugees because they were not able to return to Cuba,” Rivera told El Nuevo Herald. “That political situation remains the same today, with a communist totalitarian dictatorship in power.”

“We have to do something about those who avail themselves of an act designed to protect them from persecution and then travel back to the persecuting country in an obvious abuse of the law,” he added.

Criticism of the CAA has been building in recent years around the United States and even among South Florida’s older Cuban exile community, as growing numbers of Cuban arrivals argue that they left the island for economic rather than political reasons.

About 300,000 Cuban-Americans visited the island in 2010, and the Raúl Castro government has said it is reviewing migration regulations — a possible hint that more will be allowed to return in order to help boost the island’s economy.

“The Castro dictatorship is hoping for a lifesaver with increased travel,” Rivera said. “This bill will hopefully throw it an anchor.”

Rivera’s bill, HR2771, requires the Department of Homeland Security to rescind the adjusted state of Cubans who return to the island before they obtain their U.S. citizenship. Cubans generally need up to five years to become U.S. citizens.

Aides said he had not publicized the bill because he is waiting until Congress resumes to amend the wording of a section that would have affected all Cuban arrivals and not just those who return to the island.

The current wording would require Cubans to wait five years – instead of the current one year and one day — before they are covered by the CAA, receiving immediate U.S. residency and other benefits. The new wording, emailed by Rivera’s office to El Nuevo Herald, says Cubans will be ineligible for CAA if they return to the country before their status is adjusted.

Congress watchers said the bill has a chance of passing because it could be perceived as both tightening U.S. immigration regulations and taking a jab at the Cuban government.

Supporters of more open travel to Cuba immediately condemned Rivera’s proposal as a attempt to halt the trend toward increased trips by both Cuban Americans to visit relatives and non-Cuban U.S. residents on academic, religious and other legal visits.

“The Cuban government has spent its life dividing the Cuban family, and now we have a person like Rivera, who for political reasons does the same and divides the people,” said Ramón Saúl Sánchez, president of the Democracy Movement in Miami.

“What he is doing is punishing the Cubans and not the dictator,” added Sánchez.

“He is holding the Cuban community hostage to his maniacal desire to prevent people from travelling to Cuba,” said Ira Kurzban, an immigration lawyer who has represented several Cuba travel companies.

Hard-line critics of the Cuban government threaded carefully on the Rivera bill, agreeing with the congressman that Cubans should not be allowed to return quickly to the island but arguing that the CAA’s benefits to should be protected.

“That act is being used by people who have no hint of persecution,” said radio commentator Ninoska Pérez, referring to Cubans who describe themselves as economic migrants yet obtain the CAA’s benefits.

“I don’t want to see Cubans lose those privileges,” added Pérez, who has repeatedly referred to the abuses of the CAA in her radio program over the past month. But Rivera’s bill “is what happens when you abuse a law approved for the politically persecuted.”

Mauricio Claver-Carone director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee in Washington, said he also wants to preserve the benefits of the CAA but approves of Rivera’s efforts to sanction those who travel to Cuba too quickly.

“There should be consequences for people who adjust their status under the act and then travel back to the island using a loophole that refugees from other nations don’t have,” Claver-Carone said.

“We agree to put Cubans on a level playing field with refugees from other countries like Iran,” he noted, adding that U.S. regulations bar refuge seekers from returning home, at least until they become American citizens. “That unfair advantage needs to be fixed.”

9 thoughts on “Rep. David Rivera proposes changes in the Cuban Adjustment Act”

  1. Oh boy! This Congressman Rivera is going to earn the wrath of the MSM in record time! But, I’m glad that he introduced this bill. Some of these new “exiles” are absolutely shameless. They’re the same people who flock to see el Puerquito Lloron and Silvio Rodriquez when he comes to the USA.

    A friend of my was telling me about this family who came a year ago and they’ve already been to Cuba 3 times. They know all of the tricks in the book, so they got the grandmother on public assistance and food stamps, and they’re also somehow collecting unemployment. This means that their trips are financed by US! And that’s not all, the husband is gay. They have three kids together, and even though he’s gay, they stayed together [I guess out of convenience], but he met this bugarron in Cuba and he goes back there primarily to see his man. When he goes over there, the guy stays at Varadero with him and he whines and dines this guy. Then he comes back to the USA and as soon as he’s back he, he starts planning the next trip to Cuba.

    Cuba is becoming a sex destination where you have people going back repeatedly to Cuba for a “fix.” Tragic thing is when an “exile” does this.

  2. I wouldn’t put it past the Castros to have supplied this guy with his gay playmate as a lure to keep him coming back. Any chance this could be true?

  3. Honey, the Castros don’t need to go to that much trouble, except in special cases. They’ve spent decades turning out this sort of person; all they have to do now is sit back and reap the benefits of what they’ve sown.

  4. Kudos to Congressman Rivera!! I encourage you to call his office at 202 224-3121 and thank him for doing the right thing.

  5. Rivera se la comio!…y pal carajo!…attacking the heart of a matter will always provoke the loudest squawking. “Injustice is fairly easy to bear” said H.L. Mencken. “It’s justice that REALLY hurts”

  6. Thank you congressman Rivera! Its about time. What a shame we must pass a law to impose dignity. But hey….. Its fidel’s New Man. DEVOID OF DECENCY!

  7. Jewbana, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The real problem here is not so much US policy but Cubans themselves, and that can’t be fixed by legislation.

  8. Honey, Asombra is right. The castro’s don’t have to go through the trouble of ensnaring this man with a male prostitute, the regime has created at least 2 generations of people like this. Many Cubans today have no principles. They don’t fight for any cause, thus its very easy for one of them to leave Cuba and then to go back even if that means putting money in the tyrant’s pockets and elongating the regime.

    That’s not to say that VIP’s are not ensnared. My understanding is that the regime has both male and female agents whose job is to sexually ensnare visiting VIPs. A little romp in the bed [filmed through a two-way mirror in the hotel room can then be turned into blackmail.

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