Cuban Adjustment Act

Cuban Adjustment Act

For many years, Cubans have been able to avail themselves of a law enacted solely for their benefit known as the Cuban Adjustment Act. The point of this post is not to debate the merits of that law but to discuss the possibilities of its demise, and the consequences of that demise, given changes in the political relations between Cuba and the U.S.

This prospect should be of special interest to the many Cubans who either never availed themselves of the benefits of the law or, having done so, subsequently lost their status for various reasons.

What is the Cuban Adjustment Act?

The law in question was promulgated in 1966 and provided for the Adjustment to Permanent Residence of Cubans, and others related to them who met certain requirements, one year after they had been admitted or paroled into the U.S. Against all reason, a significant number of Cubans who received their parole never availed themselves of the Adjustment benefits of the law, remaining in parole status for many years and, some of them, becoming ineligible to become permanent residents after having committed certain crimes, or otherwise becoming inadmissible under the immigration laws.

As long as relations between Cuba and the U.S. remained non-existent, those Cubans who remained in the U.S. only as Parolees basically had nothing to worry about. They could continue to live their lives in the U.S. normally.

The question is whether this will change as relations between the two countries improve.

What Are the Cuban Adjustment Act Benefits?

The most important benefit of the Cuban Adjustment Act is that immigrants from Cuba immediately receive migratory benefits. This means that by arriving in the U.S. and stepping on American soil, they immediately have legal status in the United States.

Other benefits of the Cuban Adjustment Act include:

  • Cubans fleeing the island of Cuba are immediately granted refugee status and access to social programs and employment
  • Processing of Legal Residence Card without providing an affidavit of support
  • Receiving a Social Security Number
  • Food and lodging through the State
  • Adjustment of status without leaving the country

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