HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban Adjustment Act (1966), that makes Cuban immigrants different than those from all other countries is not on the Obama administration’s agenda for repeal, stated a White House spokesperson on Monday.
In a fact sheet describing the process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the USA as “a long, complex process that will require continued interaction and dialogue,” the US administration stated that its migration policy towards the island remains intact, “including the Cuban Adjustment Act”.
While the US claims to “support safe, legal and orderly migration from Cuba to the United States”, the Castro government notes that the benefits of the special law for Cubans motivates thousands each year to attempt the dangerous journey to reach the US in makeshift vessels. Many have died along the way.
If the potential immigrants can touch US soil they are in, with all the benefits. If they get caught by the US Coast Guard before a landing they are returned to Cuba, as stipulated by the existing US-Cuba migratory accords. Many will try repeatedly until reaching their goal.
Among its benefits, the Cuban Adjustment Act provides Cuban immigrants with work permits and a fast track (one-year) to permanent residency, something that immigrants from other countries can’t even dream of receiving.
Some of the same right-wing US Congress people opposed to the Obama-Castro rapprochement, including outspoken presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio, have joined the Cuban government in its call to repeal the Adjustment Act, but for totally different reasons.
Rubio and several other Cuban-American Congress members feel the invocation of the law, originally designed for Cubans fleeing government repression, is being misused by most for strictly economic purposes.
On the one hand, the politicians note that many of the Cubans return to visit the island soon after receiving their green cards, contradicting the idea of them being in danger of political persecution. They also question the new immigrants sending of remittances back home to Cuba, claiming the money ends up in the Castro government coffers, since it controls the entire domestic market.
The Obama administration completely opened up travel to the island for Cuban-Americans and greatly increased the amount permitted to send to individuals in Cuba as remittances.