Community Conversations

Is it time for lawmakers to reevaluate the Cuban Adjustment Act?

Most locals agreed that the Cuban Adjustment Act was meant for Cuban seeking political asylum, not Cubans coming to the U.S. for economic reasons. Most feel the act needs to be repealed, readjusted or extended to other Latin American countries.
Most locals agreed that the Cuban Adjustment Act was meant for Cuban seeking political asylum, not Cubans coming to the U.S. for economic reasons. Most feel the act needs to be repealed, readjusted or extended to other Latin American countries. AP

As part of Community Conversations, asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Is it time for lawmakers to reevaluate the Cuban Adjustment Act? Why or why not? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.

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Yes, I think so. As longtime residents, my family have observed the influx of refugees following the Cuban Missile Crisis and also following the Mariel boat lift. The Cold War is long over and our relationship with Cuba is one of the last vestiges of that era, now being modified for good reasons. The thousands of migrants trying to reach here via South and Central American land routes are simply economic migrants who are trying to beat the clock. They should be treated exactly the same as any other undocumented people seeking entry. We have to deal with our internal problems — millions of undocumented people — before we admit more.

David Burkart, Miami

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The only reasons Cuban are fleeing the island is to better themselves economically. The status of refugee no longer applies. The Cuban Adjustment Act was designed for those oppressed, not for those who want residency so they can travel freely around the world and have the perks of both a U.S. and Cuban citizenship. The U.S. should take a hard look at its immigration policies — Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Mexicans would love to work in America and visit their relatives during the holidays, as well. We the Cubans have made our cause of freedom a joke in front of all the other nations that endure worse economic hardships. I left Cuba because my parents despised the system and the neighborhood snitches. They wanted me to flourish without the constant government monitoring and dedication to a system founded on hate, envy and entrapment. That was the Cuba I left and it still is the same, except our countrymen are escaping based on economic betterment not political freedom.

Thier Peraza, Miami

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The structural violence suffered by the Cuban people continues to fuel their ambition to leave the autocratic island nation, and now that Cuba is off the U.S. terror list, these ambitions have been met with fear that the Cuban Adjustment Act from the Johnson Era may be repealed and so more Cubans are taking the gamble to make it over to the U.S. The swelling numbers in Cuban refugees trying to make it into the U.S. should be an indicator to our lawmakers of just how desperate the Cuban people have become to seek out freedom. It is not time to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act — quite the opposite.

I say it is not only time we keep the Cuban Adjustment Act, but that we expand it to other immigrant groups who would like to start a better life in the U.S.

Alex Hernandez, Miami

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This answer to this is a no-brainer. There is currently no difference today between would-be Cuban immigrants than those from Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela and dozens of other countries. The Cuban Foreign Minister was spot on when he stated the Adjustment Act stimulates Cuban immigration. Cubans know that simply by arriving here, they are “rewarded” with a host of benefits that most U.S. residents are ineligible for

Bruce Lamberto, North Miami Beach

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The Cuban Adjustment Act was created to protect those whose lives were in danger, like my father, who died without ever going back. What is happening today is a joke. These people come here, wait a year to get their residency, then go back to visit and have a good time sightseeing the places they were not allowed to visit when they lived there. Many of them live off welfare, Plan 8, and food stamps, yet they have the money to travel, which, by the way, is not cheap.

Marcie Soto, Hialeah Gardens

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No [the Cuban Adjustment Act shouldn’t be reevaluated]. Risking lives and miles trekking through jungles and guerrillas makes you a refugee, not a migrant. It’s a matter before the International Rescue Committee, nothing less.

Juan Tomás Sánchez, Miami

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It is time to end a policy that exclusively grants one group free access to our country while all others must endure a protracted and circuitous immigration policy with a high potential for rejection.

Jim Krakoski, Palmetto Bay

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If they want to live here, make them wait at least five years before they can go back to where they say there is no liberty. I came in 1966 because I couldn’t come earlier, never went back and never will as long as the Castros are there. I’m proud to say that I am a political refugee.

Armando Santiago, Miami

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Having an immigration category which is a lottery, in which the winners are determined by their boat building and navigational skills and the vagaries of the weather, and which has no numerical limit makes no sense whatever.

Arnold Slotkin, Hollywood

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Even though I am Cuban and came as a refugee, I believe that the Cuban Adjustment Act is flawed in that it grants a privilege to Cubans and not to other immigrants who may be in worse situation such as Haitians after the earthquake or Syrians right now. I would favor an Adjustment Act for all of those facing a certain criteria of hardship. But as it is, it is unfair.

Rey Bonachea, Hialeah

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