Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Illegal Immigrants from Cuba: Preferential Treatment to get Green Card

               Preferential Treatment of Cuban Migrants, Illegal and Legal
On  Jan. 12, 2010, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, made the Obama administration’s policy clear: “It is important to note that TPS  (Temporary Protected Status) will apply only to those [Haitian] individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.” 

“In FY 2008, there were 49,500 Cubans who became legal permanent residents( LPRs)--surpassed only by LPRs from Mexico, China, India and the Philippines. Yet very few Cubans have arrived in the United States through the legal avenues proscribed by the INA.”
(Ruth Ellen Wasem, “Cuban Migration to the U.S.: Policy and Trends” Congressional Research Service, June 2, 2009.

The reasons for the differences in the way Cubans are treated from other illegals is the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, Cuban-U.S. migrant agreements of 1994 and 1995, and law added in 1996. The 1966 Act permitted any Cuban who had been in the U.S. for a year and a day, regardless of how they got here, to have their status adjusted to that of a Legal Permanent Resident. Through the use of political power by U.S. Cubans, they have successfully defeated every attempt to repeal the 1966 Act and have been able to add further preferences for Cuban immigrants, whether legal or illegal. It is also a matter of class and resources; Cubans in the U.S. are able to pay thousands of dollars to have traffickers bring Cubans here illegally, to give them jobs, and help them get U.S. government benefits, while most illegals from other countries do not have the same resources or influence. Class and politics matter in immigrants matters, as Napolitano’s remarks vividly point out

Rather than applying the laws that are set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act, the U.S. treats Cubans as refugees, thereby allowing temporary entrance into the U.S., and then under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, they can apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship under expediated process designed for them. 

While discussion of migrants is an everyday event, the failure to fully discuss policies of the U.S. toward Cuban immigration is a void that needs to be corrected. While we believe the Cold War is over, there are many who want to keep it alive, if downsized, for political, partisan and policy reasons.  On January 15, 2011, we have an example of this tendency in an article in the Wall Street Journal called, “New Prize in Cold War: Cuban Doctors” about the U.S. program to encourage defections of doctors serving in foreign countries.  Not only is it an encouragement to lure illegal immigrants--the doctors do not have documents from Cuba allowing them to travel to the U.S.-- but it affects our foreign policy and diplomacy. 

The U.S. takes Cuban doctors from third world nations where they are practicing medicine, thereby removing care givers from countries that badly needs them, but it also points up the punitive nature of our foreign policy toward the sovereign nation of Cuba, and an affront to the governments of the countries that host the doctors. But this is only one of a myriad number of policies that give preferential treatment to Cubans of all types, including illegal immigrants, and demonstrate to other nations how blatantly political --and grossly unfair-- the administration of our immigration policies are. Furthermore, in January of 2011, the U.S. announced it would be expelling Haitians who were here illegally, but had been given a temporary reprieve because of the earthquake in that nation. But Cubans who arrive here illegally are given parole ( temporary permission to enter the U.S.), and all types of benefits, as I will discuss later. 

In December 2010, Bernard Pastor, an 18 year old resident of Cincinnati, was in jail for over a month in Morrow County, Ohio, waiting to be deported to Guatemala: his crime? He is an illegal immigrant because he was brought to this country when he was 3 years old by his parents who entered the country illegally.  When he was involved in a minor traffic accident, he was arrested and ordered to be deported. Fortunately, Bernard’s case was reconsidered after Ohio congressmen intervened, and he was released from jail, but his case will come up again in a year. Bernard was, according to all accounts, a model student and citizen. At the same time Bernard was being locked up, Congress was debating the Dream act that would allow children who were in the U.S. illegally before they were sixteen to be allowed to stay if they would enroll in higher education or join the military. While the bill passed the House, it was filibustered in the Senate, and the administration could not get enough votes to invoke cloture.

Contrast the situation of Bernard and the millions of illegal children who would be allowed to remain in the U.S. under the conditions of the Dream act of non-Cuban children with Cuban children who enter the country  illegally. Cuban children enter the country every day with their equally illegal parents, but the treatment is 180 degrees different from others who do so. The parents and the children are not put in jail or deported, but, on the contrary, receive enormous amounts of benefits, even exceeding, in fact, some of the benefits U.S. citizens are entitled to in the case of visiting Cuba.

 Cuban illegals can show up anywhere on land in the U.S. and immediately be allowed to enter the country. They get a work permit, social security card, public assistance for food and accommodations, medicare if eligible or medicaid. They are not, as  refugees are, put in jail until their case is decided, but are immediately paroled, and after a year, can apply for permanent residency ( green card) and citizenship after 5 years. Children can go to school without fear of arrest, and college age children can enter the universities or armed forces without having to spend two years in a college or the military.
And remember this: each new Cuban immigrant is a potential voter added, after citizenship, to the already extremely powerful Cuban lobby and political and economic machine.  

                            The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966
When Batista was overthrown in 1959, he and his officials fled to the United States, and other Cubans soon followed. Until 1966 hundreds of thousands of refugees were living in a legal limbo because they had expected to be returning to Cuba. When it was clear this was not going to happen, President Johnson pushed through congress a law that allowed any Cuban who lived in the country for a year and a day to apply for permanent residency (green card). This allowed several hundred thousand Cubans to immediately get a green card because they had already been living here for years, and it allowed any Cubans coming there after to have the same right, and it did not matter if they came legally or not. The law became a part of the Cold War battle of the U.S. against Cuba. The rationale was citizens were being oppressed in Cuba, and could come here as refugees. Until 1994 any Cuban who was picked up at sea was brought to the U.S. and allowed to stay here even though they were illegals. 

In 1994-95, Clinton and Castro, in order to stop large number of Cuban immigrants coming to the U.S. illegally, concluded a deal that would allow 20,000 Cubans a year to emigrate to the U.S., but those picked up at sea would be returned to Cuba or a third country (this group is designated as wet feet); those getting to land anywhere in the U.S are called “dry feet” and cannot be deported. The Cuban government, however, opposes the dry feet policy, and believes it to ba a violation of the agreements.

 Rather than stopping the flow of Cubans to the U.S. as it was designed to do, it has slowed down the number of illegals entering, or attempting to enter, the U.S., by sea but increased the numbers coming through Mexico: these are called “dusty feet”. 

In fiscal 2007, 13,014 illegal Cubans immigrants were cleared into the U.S., 11,278 of them in Texas alone, and other states cleared the remainder to enter the U.S. under parole, which, after a year and a day, allows the Cuban to apply to be a legal permeant resident.  An additional 2868 illegals arriving by sea were returned to Cuba in the same year, and in 2008, the number of illegals entering the U.S. dropped to around 11,000. In FY 2010, 2088 Cubans were captured at sea and returned to Cuba. Mexico has begun to capture and return Cubans trying to enter the United States from Mexico.

But the result of the preferential policies for Cubans is adding tens of thousands of permanent residents to the U.S., and thousands of these are migrants who arrived here illegally along with tens of thousands more who received preferential treatment to get here legally. In 2008, as mentioned previously, 49,500 Cubans were given permanent residency. 

We can now exam the specifics for illegal preferences and examine the preferential treatment for those who arrive here legally.

 As Ruth Ellen Wasem points out in her 2009 article about Cuban migrants arriving here, they are treated as refugees, and this makes them eligible for many benefits given to true refugees and asyllees. In fact, Cuban benefits overall go well beyond the way refugees and asyllees are treated because of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act and other provisions.  In the following analysis, we will deal with illegal and legal (those with Documents) migrants in different sections.

                                      Illegal Entrants

1. Except for Cubans, in order to enter the U.S. , the person must present themselves at a port-of-entry, that is, a border crossing, airport or seaport where there are immigration and customs agents. As explained, this is not a requirement for Cubans; as long as they get on dry land anywhere, they are paroled and immediately released. In November, 2009, thirty three Cubans--27 adults and 5 children landed at a canal in the middle of a swamp 6 miles from the Turkey Foot Nuclear Power Plant in Florida. They called Immigration and were paroled into the U.S. where they can live legally and after a year apply for permanent residency (a green card). The children will be able to go to school or university without fear of being deported even though they entered illegally with their parents. They have the same legal status as their parents. Compare with Bernard Pastor or with those million of children who are in constant fear of deportation because their parents brought them here at a young age.

2. An illegal captured anywhere trying to enter the U.S. can be given expedited treatment which means they do not have access to courts but can be immediately deported. This law does not apply to Cubans; they are exempt from expedited removal by law. In cases where Haitians and Cubans have been captured together, Haitians have been deported while the Cuban has been paroled into the U.S.

3. An illegal alien under orders of deportation must be held in jail until deported;except for Mariel boat people, this is not true of Cubans.

4. There is often a claim that illegal aliens should adhere to a law that requires them to return to their country of origin, apply for admission and then wait their turn. Cubans do not have t return to their country of origin to apply for permanent residency. Even when the U.S. suspends temporarily the deportation of illegals, as was recently done for Haitians because of the earthquake, it was made clear by Hilary Clinton that the suspension was for 18 months, and illegal Haitians could not ask for permanent residency based on the suspension.

5. Besides being eligible for medical and social services, the Cuban illegal is not penalized for being a public charge when applying for permanent residency;  this is not true for others.

6. But, one might proclaim, Cubans are coming here because of political oppression and must be treated differently. There are all kinds of arguments against this claim, but one stands out as a very salient rebuttal: the Cubans who come here, illegally or not,  can and do return to Cuba for visits and other reasons once they get permanent residency or citizenship. In 2009, two hundred and ninety six thousand Cubans returned to the country. The further irony is that while a former illegal Cuban can go to Cuba if they have relatives living there, a natural born non-Cuban U.S. citizen cannot go. You would hardly return to a place voluntarily if you had been persecuted previously. Cubans Immigrate for economic reasons just as others do. 

7. Recently Cubans who were born outside Cuba of Cuban parents, and have never been to the island, but live in a country where they are citizens, have gone to a Cuba consulate in their home country and gotten a birth certificate as a dual citizen of Cuba. They then come to the U.S. and claim political asylum under the 1966 act, and are granted legal status to be admitted. This is true only for Cubans because a person who has been settled in another country cannot claim political asylum from the country of origin. Within the past few months, e have the additional preference given to Cubans who were released from jail and went to Spain are now “being welcomed into the U.S.”

                                                          Legal Immigrants

Cubans coming to the U.S. with legal documents also receive all types of preferential treatment. 

1. Because of the agreements between President Clinton and Castro in 1994 and 1995, the U.S. will grant a minimum of 20,000 visas a year to Cubans applying for them. Five thousand of these will be awarded on the basis of a lottery that any Cuban between the age of 18 and 55 can apply for. The 20,000 can bring spouses and children under 21.

2. The U.S. did not believe enough Cubans were applying for visas and adopted a provision that would allow for those in the U.S. to bring in members of their family such as brothers and married children, categories that previously were not included in the family members that could be brought in. This is called the family  reconciliation act. These members do not count against the quota allowed for visas under the agreement between Castro and Clinton. There is no limit on the number of these family members that can be brought here. In an National public Radio story of January 12, it was pointed out that Haitians had to wait 7 to 10 years to bring in family members while it was about 3 years for Cubans.

3. Every year the President decides how many refugees can be admitted t the U.S. In 2018 Bush set the quota at 80,000 for that year, and Obama did the same the following year. Cubans, as in other years, along with Iraq and Russia, could apply for refugee status previously by going to the U.S. Interest section in Cuba. In 2009, there were 5000 slots open for all of Latin America, and Cuba received a large quota. Moreover, in order to get more Cubans to the U.S., the rules were changed to allow Cubans to be transported to the U.S. while waiting for decisions on entrance.  These refugees are not counted in the 20,000 quota for Cubans; there is a given number of visas set aside for such refugees from the entire world, and Cubans have to compete with other nationals. Hence, Cuban migrants affect other nations in Latin America has an adverse results by denying others refugee status under the quotas.

4. In order to allow citizens from nations that have a very low quota for getting visas to the U.S., Congress passed the Diversity Act that allocated 55,000 visas to ensure a cross section of nationals to come to the U.S. to get permanent residency. Cuba would normally not be included since they have a very large quota, but Congress also allowed countries on the terrorist list to import citizens from those countries. Cubans who apply for these visas do not have to have relatives in the U.S. and they can bring family members with them. In recent years, Cubans have received 67%, 69% and 73% of visas for those who applied. This group can also bring a spouse and children under 21 with them. While other nationals cannot get a visa if they will become public charges, this provision does not apply to Cubans, legal or illegal.

It is, then, of little surprise when we find other hispanics protesting the differences in treatment for their nationals. But it is unlikely that the preferential treatment given Cubans will ever change because of the importance of Florida politically, the Cuban lobbyists, the Cubans in Congress and the lack of press coverage detailing the preferences given to Cubans. In many forums on immigration, I have tried to get a discussion of the differences in the way Cuban migrants are treated, but to no avail. The Cubans political influence is simply too great to get an open discussion. The Obama administration has recently reported that there was a record number of deportations in 2010; it is not fruitful for the mass media to point out that none of these were Cubans who entered the country illegally because they would have to point out that all the claims made by the American populace about how many benefits are given, and American jobs lost, are not accurate except for one group: Cubans. In fact 29,079 Cubans have been given deportation orders for criminal acts, but cannot be deported, and only a 235 are in jail, mostly those who came here in the Mariel migration. The others cannot be held in jail for more than 6 months.

                                                    Conclusions
The chaotic immigration situation now existing in the U.S. is further exacerbated by the existence of a group singled out for special preferences that impinge on the political, economic and social life of the population. By having a powerful political group--the Cuban lobby--exercising veto power over any attempt to establish a uniform immigration policy,  we continue to be subjected to justified criticism from other nations over our favoritism. It is not lost on other countries that their nationals are treated differently and harshly from Cubans who are immune from the normal immigration process. Our diplomatic efforts to deal rationally with these nations suffers from obvious hypocrisy when we talk about the rule of law and rational approaches to resolution of political and social problems, as well as ones dealing with immigration. The Cuban exception affects how we solve some internal problems of immigration as well. 

Senator Hatch, for example, introduced a bill in October that would change the diversity program, and would require an accounting of the costs of services used by illegal immigrants, among other provisions. But would he include Cubans exempt Cubans from any adverse changes? And would he require the assessment of costs to include the costs of providing services to Cubans who arrived here illegally? Senator Menendez also introduced legislature that would increase the number of visas for agriculture workers who are needed for harvesting crops, but would he require that some of the Cubans coming here work in agricultural enterprises in order to become permanent residents? These are only a few questions that will have to be dealt with in immigration reforms if such a thing is ever attempted. 

There have been many attempts to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966; the latest was by Representative Barney Frank in 2006. The attempt failed, and there is not much chance of taking it up now with Illana Ros-Lehtinen becoming chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And there are even many politicians and others who want to abandon the dry foot-wet foot dichotomy, and allow all Cubans who leave to come here. Former Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balert has long advocated such a course, and he has now left the House and returned to Florida where he undoubtedly will work to expand the political power of the Cuban lobby.

And how are we going to deal with the very generous benefits given to Cuban immigrants whether they are legal or illegal? Ruth Ellen Wasem of the Congressional Research Service provided a summary of those benefits in 2009. The basis for Cubans receiving Federal and State social and medical benefits is the fact that they are teated as refugees, and are eligible to receive the same ones that non Cuban asyllees and refugees are entitled to; Cubans also have exemptions other immigrants do not have.  

If someone wants to immigrate to the U.S., they must have adequate resources to ensure they will not be a public charge, or they must have someone who does have resources to agree to sponsor the migrant . After five years, the LPR can apply for federal benefits.  Legal and illegal immigrants from other countries, of course, cannot be a public charge and gain entrance to the U.S.

 But these provisions do not apply to Cubans. As soon as a Cuban enters the U.S., legally or illegally, they are can get benefits if they meet the same requirements as U.S. citizens. They can get SSI for seven years, but was expanded to nine years during FY2009-2011. The maximum the person could get in 2008 was $ 637 a month for a single person, and $956 a month for a married couple. If they get SSI, they are also likely to get Medicaid from the state. If, however, the person does not receive SSI, and the person has children under 18, they are eligible for cash assistance, possibly a monthly payment (variable by state) and Medicaid. They are also eligible for refugee resettlement assistance that are designed to help migrants work toward self sufficiency . Childless females, single males, and couples who meet the requirements for programs but not otherwise eligible, can still qualify for other programs, including medical assistance. And there are other state programs that are separate from federal ones. 

An interesting question is whether, with the cutbacks of services by the Federal and state governments, the preferential benefits given to Cubans will continue in the future. We know there is a tremendous outcry  over illegal immigrants who are not getting the benefits Cubans get, and there is sure to eventually be questions asked as to why benefits that are being reduced or taken away for U.S. citizens would still be given to Cubans who are not even citizens. Some 4,000 Cubans, for example, receive disability payments and are not citizens, and cannot speak English.

Politicians will, to be sure, continue to fear cutting preferences for Cubans, but an astute non- incumbent politician can make effective campaign points by   attacking these preferences, at least in some parts of the country. And if non-Cuban illegals who came here as children are going to continue to be denied equal opportunities that Cuban children enjoy, there is sure to be animosities that will become a part of the political process and should become part of the debate about immigration. 

In public opinion polls after the 2010 earthquake about whether or not Haitians should be allowed to stay in this country or more to be admitted, Americans opposed such policies, but I am not aware of any polls asking if Cubans should be given temporary or permeant residency or about concerns noted by the report by William Gibsons’ on January 14, 2010 of the South Florida Sun Sentinel about Haitian migrants: 

“...[S}several administrations have been reluctant to grant TPS for fear it would encourage more Haitians to flee the island on dangerous voyages bound for Florida. Critics in Congress say it would reward illegal immigration and strain schools and social services in places like South Florida.”

The same reasoning does not apply for Cuban migrants who are encouraged to come because of benefits, jobs special treatment and other preferences given only to them. Smuggling for Cubans is far more extensive for Cubans than other groups; because of the benefits upon arriving in the U.S., the illegal Cuban can repay the costs within a short time.

Ironically, unlike the costs imposed by Cubans, the Haitian children that arrived here after the earthquake, according to a 2011 report, did not result in overloading public schools for the poor because large numbers of them needed advanced placement, not remedial instruction, and some even went to private schools.

The preferences given to Cubans also works against an overall solution to immigration. Cuban interest groups and politicians are not going to want reform when it will decrease the number of Cubans, legals or illegals coming to the United States. About 50,000 total Cubans arrive each year from both groups, and this is far more than quotas would ever allow under a reformed system.  



And it would be naive to think that U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy is affected by the blatant differences in the way immigrants are treated according to the country they come from.

To paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm: all immigrants are equal, but some are more equal than others.



V. Jerone Stephens.  Ph.D from Indiana University. I am a retired professor of political science, but continue writing about politics.  

51 comments:

  1. Some people will want to seek professional help as soon as they see the mountain of forms, checklist and supporting documents needed. The forms used for Adjustment Of Status based on marriage can also be used for other adjustment applications, hence the confusion and the likelihood to make mistakes. Any mistake in the form can return the case back to you, resulting in delays and even denials.

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  2. This is such an interesting article. What moved you to write it?

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  3. Of course no republican will say anything about this as most cubans tend to vote republican when in fact most of them do not have a .10th of knowledge in US politics

    I've known dozens of cubans and i know this from personal experiences

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    1. bingo. Spot on. But the Dems are just as bad for having no spine on making this an issue.

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  4. The majority of the American cititzens have no clue about this. And they should.

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  5. You forgot to mention they also get 5 years of college of technical school for FREE.

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    1. Why doesn't the press make the public aware of this! That ticks me off to no end.

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    2. No way! Are you serious.? That is total b.s. Please show me of some documentation of that and I'll be on the phone with my Congressman tomorrow.

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    3. Well I live in Miami and my father is Cuban. The answer is yes they have FREEE government assistance for technical college, section 8 housing,food stamps, medicaid,medicare,disability just getting off the raft. My father came from Cuba a long time ago and he never used or abused the system,he worked hard. The ones coming in now are abusing the system like if it is entitled to them. I wish Americans wake up about this abuse of the system that is going on in Miami. The Miami government is Cuban.

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    4. Jenn, The problem is, is that 98% of the public don't have a clue about the Cuban Adjustment Act and all the entitlements they receive. Many are familiar with the wet/foot-dry/foot policy but the CAA is a horse of a different color. It's been a well kept secret by both parties. Neither the Dems or GOP don't want to anger the Cuban exhile community in S. Florida nor the powerful Cuba American lobby. As Dr. Stephens states is all about the Cuban vote, (politics).
      Ironically the Republican party are the first ones shouting about welfare, food stamps and immigration. Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. The Democrats are just as bad for not complaining about it. I personally contacted Senator Bill Nelson about the CAA and he replied within a week stating the usual talking point, they are fleeing from that evil Castro. When I replied back as to why they are returning then he hasn't responded. And I emailed him again and no response. He lost my vote.

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    5. I really don't know where is that college. I am an american citizen born in Cuba, came here legally, and never, ever have received any type of monetary help, nothing for free. I went to college and graduated from paralegal, and again I received financial aid like anyone else that I had to pay back. Where is the free education?. Why we don't say about all other nationalities or the american and african american who received welfare, food stamps, that live subsidized from the government?. Why we don't say that most of the african americans work for the government because is a 40 hours employee that don't want to work in farms or construction. Have you seen white americans working in the field picking up tomatoes, oranges and so on?. Cubans come to United States and work hard, implement businesses generate money. Cubans owns McDonalds franchises, cubans are in the congress, senators. Cubans pay taxes because the right that we have to stay and obtain a residency because is compensated with work. How many illegal immigrants from other countries come here, if they are lucky and are not stopped by ICE?; they stay here for years and years working on the side, having children to get the opportunity to stay in the country, they don't pay taxes and save all the money to send it to their countries and in the meantime, in the future go back with all the free tax money that they made here.

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    6. African Americans & Americans can receive welfare and other subsidized help because they are Americans... Was this really your argument? Why do Cubans get all these special treatments... what makes you different than immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico? They get nothing when they try to come here. I am too, an immigrant. I was able to become legal and now I'm serving in the military to pay it back to my new country. Why do Cubans get special treatment? What makes you special?

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  6. I still see this travesty going on today and it is so sad. They are still importing them by the boatload they come and do not learn english, and get $800+ cash & foodstamps a mo.

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  7. This is a very interesting article. I have know for many years that Cubans get special treatment and benefits in this country, but didn't know the details and extent of if.
    I was wondering if Russia Jews or Jews from any other part of the world also get special "visas." I watched a show called "Undercover Boss" and it that particular episode a young Israeli guy said that a few years ago when he came to the U.S. he had only $4,000 with him. But, that within 4 years he owned a business and also bought a brand new Mercedes Benz vehicle. Now, he is the CEO of his own multi million dollar yogurt company.
    It is my understanding that there's no way for an immigrant to get a work permit, much less a status to stay and work in this country. So, how was this young man able to get a visa to stay in the U.S. permanently, open a business, and become a millionaire so quickly?
    My guess is that somebody or some group had to help him get started and get him all the necessary papers for him to succeed here.
    I know many, many Americans born here that are not nearly as successful. So, there's something wrong with that picture don't you think? However, nobody dares to touch the subject in public b/c it would be politically incorrect and some Jewish groups would shout "discrimination" or that they're being single out, etc…
    Does anybody knows how some Jewish people can get here and stay? Just curious.
    I mean, if you look at Dancing With The Stars, for instance, some of the dancers are Easter European and Russian jews. I didn't know that their skill qualifies as H-1B visa, H-3, or, O visa among others. Has anybody written about this? Thanks.

    Happy New Year.

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  8. What a great blog, i am searching in google from couple of days” but did not find any great way, but my search came to an end after visiting your blog.!!!Do you have any more related blogs or ideas related to like your this blog, it will help me in my further research work…Will keep following your blogs…

    Visa Lawyer || Immigration Lawyers

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  9. A well researched article! kudos!

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  10. This needs to stop now that relations have been softened. US government and US citizens have been manipulated for too long. Cubans want to have benefits in the US for the sole reason of being Cuban and at the same time travel to visit their relatives, but mostly to party and live like the millionaires while there. Other groups can´t even visit their countries because they are illegal and would not be able to return.

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    1. I completely agree. I have been witness to the "entitlement" they believe they deserve..

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    2. I am a Cuban myself. We do not "manipulate" US citizens, the benefits that we do get are a blessing to us. And when we go back to Cuba and visit our relatives it is not to "Party" we go to help out our families that don't have a meal some nights because of the corruption that they live in. Please do not speak if you don't know the troubles cubans go through everyday living there. Take a moment and maybe even go there and experience it yourself, see the reason why we get benefits. It's not because we're special or we deserve it because we're Cubans it's because we suffer. And of course it's not just cuban immigrants that go through hardship in their native land, but we cubans can't do anything about those that aren't being benefited by the Government. What you should know is we come to the US to help our families and create a better future something we couldn't possibly have done in our native Island.

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    3. Well then you shouldn't be getting any benefits in the first place because you are not fleeing for fear of persecution or you wouldn't be returning the place you fled from with your fear. You are an economic refugee which is exactly the point Dr. Stephens is making.

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    4. "What you should know is we come to the US to help our families and create a better future something we couldn't possibly have done in our native Island."
      Just like every other refugee fleeing from Central America, Mexico, etc. You just made my point and the point Dr. Stephens is making is you have read the entire article and especially the last line. "All immigrants are equal, but some are more equal than others."

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    5. Nadia, If you go back to visit your relatives your fear of political oppression is no longer valid. You wouldn't or nobody wouldn't return to a country they fled from for fear of their Government.
      Yes, I am sure you went thru hardships just as every other refugee has. Yes, Cubans are special in the political arena. They have been the sacred cow for the Republican Party. Cubans are special all because of the politicians in both parties are afraid of angering the Cuban Exile community which means votes which means getting elected. Cubans flee because of the hardships just like every other refugees from Central and South America but the way they are treated differently is disgusting.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/08/us-usa-immigration-cuba-idUSBRE9170F920130208

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    6. GOOGLE: "SUN SENTINEL" + "EASY MONEY". There are three parts. Just released last month. Oct. 2015. What the Sentinel discovered will make you sick to your stomach yet not one politician will do anything.

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  11. Cubans claim to be refugees that make it impossible to live in Cuba, but you admit it is to get a so-called better life, something that is not a legitimate reason for entering the country or getting all the benefits that the American people are paying for. Corruption is pervasive in Miami by Cuban groups,a fact you do not mention. Cuban M=in Miami are parasites and crooks.

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    1. The ones to blame are the politicians of both parties for allowing this fraud to happen. Especially the members of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. And both the Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for keeping a lid on it. And they have done a very good job at it too. Unless they are pressured by the voters don't expect this to change anytime soon.

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    2. The problem is, is that 98% of the public don't have a clue about the Cuban Adjustment Act and all the entitlements they receive. Many are familiar with the wet/foot-dry/foot policy but the CAA is a horse of a different color. It's been a well kept secret by both parties. Neither the Dems or GOP don't want to anger the Cuban exhile community in S. Florida nor the powerful Cuba American lobby. As Dr. Stephens states is all about the Cuban vote, (politics).
      Ironically the Republican party are the first ones shouting about welfare, food stamps and immigration. Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. The Democrats are just as bad for not complaining about it. I personally contacted Senator Bill Nelson about the CAA and he replied within a week stating the usual talking point, they are fleeing from that evil Castro. When I replied back as to why they are returning then he hasn't responded. And I emailed him again and no response. He lost my vote.

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  12. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/fl-cuban-immigration-welfare-congress-20151016-story.html

    Dr. Stephens, it looks like enough Floridians had enough of it. Amen!

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  13. Professor Stephens, someone in the Sun-Sentinel finally had the gull to publish exactly your argument and then some! Google Sentinel + easy money. Maybe one of the Florida Republicans will finally have to consider the U.S. taxpayer vote instead of the Cuban vote. We'll see and thank you for the excellent article!

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  14. Please google: Sun-Sentinel + easy money What an excellent three page investigation the Florida Sun-Sentinel did last month. It is disgusting what they found out.

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  15. you worry about Cubans getting a handful of Dollars , but you need to worry more about the 10 of Billions that Congressman give Israel to fund the war to kill children and mothers , that a real shame .

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    1. A handful of dollars? $680 million a year in federal benefits is not a handful of dollars. And the Israel matter is not the topic of the discussion here

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  16. Lol. Croc of an article and from a political science prof. Cuba is communist. Go get a clue. If you abscond from a communist regime, Cuba or any communist regime, you are a REFUGEE, NOT AN IMMIGRANT. You are not an illegal like those running across the border. Last 8 checked, cuba was still communist. Again,go get a clue. Thx for the spin though.

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    1. lol If they are fleeing from political oppression as claimed they sure wouldn't return and vacation

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    2. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/us-cuba-welfare-benefits/ This isn't a croc. It's disgusting.

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    3. No other refugee,fleeing from any other country communist or not are entitled to the benefits they receive. $680 million a year of taxpayer money. And both parties are responsible for letting this continue.

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    4. It seems the Cubans have no problem absconding right back to Cuba once they receive their handouts from the U.S. taxpayer. In fact no other refugee, migrant legally or illgally coming to the U.S. from any other country communist or not are entitled to no where near what the Cubans are receiving. Not even close. And a croc? Please find one false statement in the Professor's article. Then let the rest of us know. Oh and by the way it gets better.http://www.sun-sentinel.com/us-cuba-welfare-benefits/

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  17. Cubans own Miami. They are very arrogant. Once they step on US soil they get a green card without any problem and automatically get public benefits. Then within 3 years they can become a citizen. Once they become US citizens, they think they are better than other immigrants and don’t want to work as hard as them, and why should they? They live off our taxes and we keep welcoming them with open arms, while making it difficult for those that do work hard for a living to “earn” their US citizenship. Is that fair? If Cuba was so bad, why is it that some Cubans go back on vacation once they have money?
    So Cuba may be a communist country. So what? China, Korea, and other countries are as well and they are not given the preferential treatment that Cubans get. Hypocrisy!

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    1. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/us-cuba-welfare-benefits/ This should make your head explode. This is a recently released investigation. Both parties, including the President who I support on most every issue but he and both parties are responsible for allowing this to continue. Its disgusting

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    3. You are a highly ignorant person who generalizes a large group of people, that's not possible, but you would only knew that if you were intelligent enough.

      Cuba, unlike other Latin American countries, is communist, which means they can study and become educated people but will get paid roughly the same as someone who didn't feel like studying. Also, they can't create businesses and are extremely deprived from various common human rights. What this all means is that because of the political system in the island, Cubans can't improve their life, even if they did their best, unlike other Latin American countries, they can study hard and do something for their lives and their country's economy. You are either full of envy or ignorant, maybe both.

      Don't wish bad for others because you can't get the same. Instead, worry about yourself.
      Therefore, the law is completely fair.

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    4. Moreover, I would like to educated you further. I, myself, have lived in Miami my whole life. I've socialized with many Cubans and people from many different countries. No, they don't feel like they are better then other immigrants, you just feel inferior because you don't get the "benefits"? Neither do they own Miami, but thanks to them Miami is a big important city.

      Cubans work hard, my cousin's husband came from Cuba three years ago, he used to be a doctor, he learned the language and studied extremely hard to pass all medical boards in this country. He is currently an osteopathic doctor in the U.S.

      They are not arrogant, is ignorant for you to label millions of people the same, and no, don't say most either. Instead, you should notice your own characteristic instead of speaking ill of others. Those might be your ignorant opinions, which I respect, but doesn't mean they are facts.

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    5. Well here are the facts. Whether you don't like them or not this is a three page investigative report by the Florida Sun-Sentinel.http://www.sun-sentinel.com/us-cuba-welfare-benefits/

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    6. Relax Ashley dear. You make me laugh. Seems to me that you are the ignorant here.

      Really? “In other Latin American countries, they can study hard and do something for their lives and their country's economy?” Really? Where have you been? Welcome to planet Earth! We have many immigrants with college degrees that come to America hoping to do what they can’t do in their countries…progress! Do you think Cubans are an isolated case? Furthermore, are you telling me that all Cubans that come to the U.S. are educated? Really?

      No, I am not full of envy and NO, I don’t feel inferior for not getting "FREE benefits” which I have never asked for nor received. I work for a living and the high taxes I pay Uncle Sam pay to welcome Cubans to the U.S. to abuse the system.

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    7. Nancy, I wonder why Amy has not said anything about the recent influx of thousands of Cubans are now trying to get to the U.S. as soon as possible? It is because the two countries are having much more diplomatic ties. They fear that they cannot use the excuse that they are fleeing from political oppression and won't be entitled to the $690 million a year in federal entitles we pay for them. And also the fact that commercial air travel is now legal between the two countries. It will now only take 45 minutes each way to return to Cuba and back.
      Just as stated By Professor Stevens.

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  18. Just as Professor Stevens states the fact that Cubans are fleeing because of political oppression is an excuse and has been excuse. If that were the case they sure wouldn't be returning by the thousands to spend the money they received from the taxpayer they are still currently receiving from the US taxpayers. It's quite frankly disgusting. And here are the facts.http://www.sun-sentinel.com/us-cuba-welfare-benefits/

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  19. I have just visited your website and I found it very informative and useful for readers.Thanks for sharing and please keep updating with your views.

    Uscis medical | Uscis civil surgeon

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    1. It is very informative and quite frankly disgusting that this has been going on all these years and continues right under the nose of the U.S taxpayer

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  20. i am a single mother of two young boys and I have been receiving disability benefits for the last few years due to rhumetoid arthritis that has attacked my joints and soft tissue resulting in the inability to work and sometimes I am so sick it is hard to take care of my children and get through a day without excruciating pain. I have a bachelors degree and had a very good career before this disease changed my life. I have applied for every benefit that is out there- state and federal. I currently live in California which Ive been told has better benefits than most other states. However, even though I have no other source of income than a $ monthly SSDI check, I am somehow and for reasons that are never consistent or sensible to me, I not eligible for food stamps, cash assistance or other benefits other than the $1200 per month from my disability payment that I paid into over 30 years of working hard and paying taxes! I am so sick of being denied these benefits that these illegal aliens get! They refuse to speak our language, do not assimilate into our culture and in fact they actually resist assimilation! They live here comfortably and take benefits that -by right of being a natural born citizen and a hard working, tax paying with no police record or even a traffic ticket for 30 years! I cannot even support my children with the small disabioity payment I get and often resort to working under the table when I can find a job that pays this way. I live in a low income apartment complex, with neighbors that are illegal aliens and with a working husband and 2 children who share their home with 5 other family members who are also illegals!! They are all on food stamps, cash assistance and are prioritized on the section 8 program (subsidized rent). I am so tired of being surrounded by these people who infiltratae our communities and get any and all benefits under the sun and somehow have learned how to lie and play the system to have everything they need and more to live off our government with no humility or sense of appreciation at all. They disrespect our culture by refusing to learn our language and customs, come into our schools and dumb down our classes by not learning our language and therby not teaching their kids to learn english and take and take and take. Im sick of the preferential treatment they get because of all of these political power plays from 50 years ago!! I think we should deport them and close our borders and have the same immigration policies that other European countries demand- that immigrants legally enter our country, that they have a substantial amount of money in their bank accounts to relocate and learn English within a year of their arrival. Most importantly, they should not be allowed to receive any Federal or State benefits or handouts. They should have a job guaranteed before they arrive so that they are contributing to our society instead of sucking off of it, leaving no money for the citizens who have paid their dues to this country and for whatever reason, need temporary assistance from the government. I would never have voted for a republican until this year and for one reason alone I will be voting for Trump with conviction and that reason is because of his immigration policy! I am sick and tired of immigrants taking from us benefits that they do not deserve! Im sick of this government allowing this to happen! Get out of this country and re-enter legally and stop taking money that was never yours in the first place and learn our language damn it! I cant stand it any longer and I know I am not alone. If you didn't come here legally then get out of our country!!!

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  21. Informative article, just what I was looking for. USA Green Card Lottery

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