By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — Over five decades, the Cuban Adjustment Act, which puts Cuban immigrants in a category of their own, has helped many hundreds of thousands relocate in the United States with fast-track residency and financial assistance – advantages that other immigrants could only dream of.
There is also a darker side to the law: it has fomented human trafficking and dangerous travel in unfit vessels across the Caribbean sea. Untold hundreds of thousands have perished in this way.
Now that the Obama and Castro governments have restored diplomatic relations, and made travel abroad easier since 2013, should the special US law for Cubans be repealed?
The issue is a hot potato in US politics.
Those in favor of repealing the Act include right-wing Cuban-American congresspeople such as presidential candidate Marco Rubio, and the Cuban government, although for different reasons.
Cuban-Americans on the right say that the law is being abused by people claiming a persecution that doesn’t exist and then frequently visiting the island once their green card is issued, disproving their initial claim. They say that without the law “real” dissidents facing persecution could still apply for US asylum.
On the Cuban government side, the Act is considered a tool to foment dangerous, sometimes deadly, migration.
Those in favor of maintaining the law include a large segment of the Cuban population. Given the economic difficulties in Cuba, large numbers of Cubans would love to gain US residency, especially since they can now do so without losing their property and other rights as a Cuban, as was the case for over five decades.
There is speculation that the Cuban Adjustment Act has been one of several topics discussed in the secret meetings between US and Cuban officials. Even though the White House has said the law is not under consideration, fear that it might be repealed has led to a documented increase in rafters hoping to get in before it’s too late.
So what do you think should happen to the Cuban Adjustment Act? Please write in your opinion. We will see to it that it gets read.