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Why are more Cuban immigrants heading to the U.S.?

There is no question that those immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking protection from persecution in their home country do not have an easy road ahead. Indeed, there are forms to fill out, hearings to attend and no real promise of ultimately being granted asylum.

There is, however, at least one group of people who actually have what could be classified as an easier time when it comes to securing asylum: Cuban immigrants.

That's because the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, passed at a time when hostilities between the U.S. and Cuba were at an all-time high, dictates that those Cuban citizens who arrive on the shores of the U.S. are generally assumed to be refugees seeking protection from political persecution. Furthermore, they are generally granted permanent legal residency (i.e., a green card) after the passage of a year and a day.

Interestingly enough, while this reality has always resulted in a steady stream of Cubans immigrating to the U.S., experts indicate that these numbers have jumped dramatically in the last year.

After examining data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Pew Research Center determined that in fiscal year 2015 over 43,000 Cubans were admitted to the U.S. at various ports of entry, an astonishing increase of 78 percent from fiscal year 2014.

This naturally begs the question as to why so many Cubans are now attempting to enter the U.S.

According to experts, the phenomenon can likely be traced to the improving ties between the U.S. and Cuba, which began in earnest back in 2009 with the Obama Administration's decision to ease travel and money wiring restrictions, and culminated in last year's normalization of relations.      

Specifically, there is worry that as the longstanding chill between the two countries continues to thaw, the U.S. will begin seriously revisiting its immigration policies, such that Cubans are no longer afforded special treatment.

While the Obama Administration has indicated that there are no plans in place to change immigration policies toward Cuba, some experts are predicting that at least some minimal changes are likely on the horizon, including increased screenings.

Stay tuned for updates …

If you have questions or concerns related to deportation, permanent residency or any other immigration-related matter, you should strongly consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can outline your options and fight to enforce your rights.

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