President Obama announced in late 2014 that the United States would renew ties with Cuba, and since then the number of Cubans coming to the U.S. is on the rise. The United States now has an embassy in Havana and there is growing support for ending the trade embargo with Cuba. U.S. Customs and Border Protection data show that 2014 saw 24,278 Cuban immigrants entering the U.S. with a surge in 2015 to 43,159. This year has only ten months of recorded data available, but the number of Cubans arriving has already topped the 2015 surge at 46,635.
For many, Cuban immigration brings to mind the boat route by sea, and indeed in 2015 the U.S. Coast Guard encountered 3,505 Cubans at sea, the largest number of any country. However, the majority of Cubans travel over land and enter through the U.S. Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector in Texas. Some Cubans try to go first to Ecuador and then north, but these pathways are closing off and leaving people stranded. The Miami sector is also a popular port of entry. From 2014 to 2015 the number of immigrants traveling this route more than doubled from 4,709 to 9,999. In the first ten months of 2016 the numbers continued to be high with 8,960 Cubans entering through the Miami sector.
The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966
Cubans fall under different immigration rules than people from other countries who want to enter the United States. Because of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, Cubans need only to show up at a port of entry and pass an inspection that examines their criminal and immigration history in the U.S. Once the inspection has been passed, they are free to stay in the country and after one year can apply for legal permanent residence.
Cubans are the only nationals afforded this special privilege by Congress. The law essentially gives them refugee status and is a fast track to U.S. citizenship since a green card can be obtained after living only one year in the United States. However, the Cuban Adjustment Act was amended in 1996 with a provision that it will be repealed if and when Cuba becomes a democracy.
The Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Are Skilled at Navigating the Path to U.S. Citizenship
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can help you every step of the way. We have the knowledge and will be there for you as you go through the citizenship process. Call us at 215-925-4435 or contact us online.