US Reaffirms the Cuban Adjustment Act

Recent Cuban arrivals to Florida. File photo: Rob O'Neal /The Key West Citizen via AP
Recent Cuban arrivals to Florida. File photo: Rob O’Neal /The Key West Citizen via AP

HAVANA TIMES – The US government reiterated on Tuesday that it has no plans to change the Cuban Adjustment Act and “wet-foot feet dry” policy, despite nine Latin American foreign ministers asking Washington to review the law they attribute to the current Cuban migration crisis affecting the region.

“The United States is committed to supporting a safe, orderly and legal migration. The Cuban Adjustment Act is still in force and the ‘wet feet-feet dry’ (policy) remains the policy of the United States on Cuban migration,” a State Department spokesman told dpa news.

The foreign ministers of Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua and Ecuador sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday in which they expressed their concern about the negative effects of US immigration policy with respect to Cuba and its impact on the region.

The Latin American countries urged Kerry to revise the US immigration policy that encourages Cubans to migrate illegally, putting them in dangerous situations.

The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 gives Cubans who reach the United States, regardless of whether they have done so legally or illegally, the right to work and a fast track to legal residency -a year and one day after arriving in the country, and later US citizenship.

According to the policy of “wet feet, dry feet”, United States repatriates all Cubans intercepted at sea ( “wet feet”). Those who land on US soil ( “dry feet”) can process a permanent residency permit.

The State Department confirmed Monday that it had received the letter from the Latin American foreign ministers on the Cuban Adjustment Act, which dates from the ’60s.

“We are concerned about the safety of all migrants throughout the region, including migrants seeking to travel north through South America, Central America and Mexico,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the State Department, who warned of the dangers of illegal travel to the United States.

Kirby said the United States “continues to encourage all countries to respect the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers and ensure they are treated humanely”.

Tens of thousands of Cubans have left their country in recent years, hoping to reach the United States in order to benefit from the advantages of the Cuban Adjustment Act, but many have been detained by the immigration policies of the countries on their way north.

The thaw between Washington and Havana has led some politicians to question the privileges enjoyed by Cuban immigrants in the United States.

Many immigrants consider unfair the favorable treatment of Cubans. The remaining immigrants can take decades to get permanent legal residence and, if they have entered the country illegally, they risk being deported.

In the United States no Cubans are considered “undocumented”, because those who reach the country invoke the Cuban Adjustment Act.

5 thoughts on “US Reaffirms the Cuban Adjustment Act

  • The Cuban adjustment act if anything should become the South American adjustment act to include all those running from the many failed socialist states. I have lived the Cuban adjustment act, thank God for America. It is the land of the free and the brave. It is a long way from perfect, but it is way better than Cuba’s failed socialist experiment.

  • “….The Cuban Revolution is an example for the rest of Latin America” yeah, how’s that working out for Venezuela?

    And your assertions are patently false, certainly they are not thought out. You end your statement with a logical fallacy. If, as you say, the revolution is built on the “people”, who will defend it though the heavens fall…why do people still risk, and in many instances lose, their lives trying to flee Cuba? How could you have a “Mariel boat lift”, where thousands upon thousands fled the island. Why is their no net positive immigration since 1959? There are not one or two people fleeing, but thousands and thousands looking for something, anything, better than what is found in Cuba.

    But, their is no arguing against your “No true Scotsman “.

  • Do you detect the forked tongued, hypocritical policy of the USA? The work undertaken by the Pope to break the thaw in the USA Cuban relationship has gone down the drain; a waste of the Pope’s time and energy. President Obama’s visit was just a sham, a mockery, a waste of time. It is evident for all and sundry to see that the USA cannot be trusted; its word is not its bond and that all its efforts are geared towards the destruction of the 1959 Cuban Socialist Workers Revolution. The Cuban Revolution is an example for the rest of Latin America to follow and. what irks, galls and irritates the USA is that this Socialist Workers Revolution, flourishes successfully just ninety (90) miles from its borders. It has tried assassinations, it has tried economic terrorism, it has tried armed and terrorist’s invasions, it has tried the wet foot-dry foot policy and the people are still defending their REVOLUTION: What the USA fails to understand is that a REVOLUTION is built by Dedicated people with Principles; people who are stern in their conviction; people who are prepared to make sacrifices for those convictions. People who cannot be bought or sold: People who would defend their Revolution though the heavens fall! You see how determined those CUBAN FIVE were to defend their REVOLUTION? Those who bolt to the USA, are not the materials of which a REVOLUTION is made. Cuba could well do without them; they are land filled materials!..

  • Remember Cubans Are CUBANS.
    Go to Cuba if you want to know the truth.

  • The article is wrong. Undocumented aliens, fleeing conditions much worse than Cubans do not get permanent residence after waiting decades. They never do.

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