Keep the Cuban Adjustment Act, but clamp down on its abusers
In 1965, one year before signing the Cuban Adjustment Act into law, President Lyndon Johnson said, “I declare this afternoon to the people of Cuba that those who seek refuge here in America will find it. The dedication of America to our traditions as an asylum for the oppressed is going to be upheld.”
Clearly, the spirit of the Act was to assist Cubans who had to flee their homeland and could not return for fear of persecution.
However, unlike other immigrants seeking political asylum, Cubans can return home without jeopardizing their status. In no other instance are refugees or asylees allowed to return to the country they claim is persecuting them without fundamental political change in that country occurring first, or before becoming U.S. citizens.
This is an obvious inconsistency in the law, as several South Florida newspapers have repeatedly pointed out. Ignoring this flaw is detrimental to efforts to reform and preserve the law for those who truly fear for their safety and security in Cuba. Moreover, those who wrongfully take advantage of this law are abusing our country’s generosity and creating gross inequities in our immigration system. Economic immigrants from many other countries in our hemisphere who waited in line to come to the United States do not understand why Cubans, who openly admit they have come for economic opportunities, enjoy these privileges.
Reportedly, some Cubans qualify for public-assistance benefits in the United States and then move back to Cuba. Many of them receive more in benefits than retired Americans who have worked in this country for decades.
On Oct. 8, I met with senior White House staff involved in immigration and Cuba policy. I requested that meeting in a good-faith effort for cooperation to try to address abuses of the CAA and avoid a possible migrant crisis. The goal was to find common ground for a legislative solution.
While acknowledging the abuses, the officials echoed Secretary of State John Kerry’s words that the Obama administration, “has no plans whatsoever to alter the current migration policy.”
Continue reading HERE.