October 17, 2021

The Cuban Adjustment Act needs to be abolished

thThe Cuban Adjustment Act, Public Law 89-732, was passed by Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson on November 2, 1966. Under the provision of this law any native or citizen of Cuba who has been admitted or paroled into the United States after January 1, 1959 and has been physically present for at least one year and one day in this nation becomes a United States permanent resident.

The original Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 allowed Cubans to become permanent residents if they had been present in the United States for at least two years. The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1976 (P.L. 94-571) reduced this time to one year. Caps on immigration do not apply and it is not necessary that the applicant use a family-based or employment-based immigrant visa petition.

Two other immigration rules were also waived. Unlike other immigrants, Cubans are not required to enter the United States at a port-of-entry. Second, being a public charge does not make a Cuban ineligible to become a permanent resident. These privileges are not given to other immigrant groups. It has also been discovered that people who have never set foot in Cuba, but claim to have a parent of Cuban descent, can immigrate to America.

Cubans in Cuba can legally migrate to the United States through various migration programs that include immigrant visa issuance, refugee admission, the diversity lottery, and the Special Cuban Migration Program (SCMP), otherwise known as the Cuban lottery. There are thousands of visas available annually to eligible applicants from around the world. The Special Cuban Migration Program, or “Cuban lottery”, is open to all adult Cubans between the ages of 18 and 55 years of age who are resident in Cuba regardless of whether they qualify for American immigrant visa or refugee programs. The lottery provides an avenue of legal migration to a diverse group of Cubans, including those who might not have close relatives in the United States.

The Cuban Adjustment Act has outlived its usefulness and need. It has been documented by investigative journalists that an enormous amount of crimes has been committed by Cuban immigrants who come here not to flee persecution, but to steal from retailers, insurance companies, banks and credit card companies, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Before many of these Cuban criminals (many of them sent by the intelligence services of Communist Cuba) are indicted and prosecuted, they returned back to Cuba as heroes. The money stolen in the United States goes back to Cuba to enrich the Castro regime.

Other Cubans over 65 years of age come to the Unites States to seek the generous benefits provided by our nation. Without having worked a day in our country they are given a Social Security pension of $733 a month, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and assisted rent, among other benefits. Some Cubans who are less than 65 apply for disability due to suffering “psychological illness” and due to the lax rules of the Social Security administration by which they obtain disability benefits.

The Sun Sentinel newspaper did a series of articles documenting the many crimes and abuses of recently arrived immigrants from Cuba. They discovered that seniors from Cuba, who after becoming U.S. permanent residents, return to live in Cuba, while relatives in the United States send their pensions to them to enjoy in the island. These seniors also collect their small Cuban pensions. Some of them also collect pensions from the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Cuba well as U.S. pensions.

Many Cubans in Cuba are aware just of how easy is to commit fraud in our nation. These individuals have cost U.S. taxpayers over $2 billion in recent years. It is grossly unfair that American-born citizens and decent naturalized Cubans who have worked for many years in our nation receive Social Security pensions between $500 and $600 a month.
These abuses to U.S. laws must end immediately! Crimes and fraud must also be prosecuted vigorously!

The time is right for Americans of Cuban descent in Congress to file a bill to eliminate the Cuban Adjustment Act in order to stop the criminals from Communist Cuba who come here to commit massive fraud in our beloved country. It is also time for Republican presidential candidates to ask Congress to end the Cuban Adjustment Act.

It is time to think about treating Cuban immigrants the way we treat immigrants from other nations. Almost all Cubans, who are now fleeing their country’s horrible economic conditions, come to the United States not to flee persecution but to seek greater opportunities here. That is the hope of tens of millions immigrants from around the world who want to come to America. Fairness should be the goal of immigration.

Florida’s Cuban-American members of Congress have begun to speak out against the 1966 law. They do not advocate ending it. Rather, they wish to limit its application to genuine political refugees. Genuine refugees comply because they fear persecution if they return to their homeland. If you are truly a political refugee, you do not return to the country where you were persecuted.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Cubans, who took unfair advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act, return to Cuba frequently, after one year and one day, once they become U.S. permanent residents. Some travel to Cuba several times a year. Yet, Cubans in Cuba do not need to rely on the Cuban Adjustment Act to move to the United States. They may officially qualify for some of the 20,000 annual Cuban entry slots or for general refugee-immigration slots.

Those Cuban who are opponents of the tyrannical regime or who are or had been political prisoners and seek refuge from persecution qualify for admission independently from of the Cuban Adjustment Act. Their refugee rights should be protected. These brave patriotic Cuban freedom fighters can apply for U.S. resettlement through the United States embassy in Havana and our nation should welcome them with open arms.