CUBAN IMMIGRANTS--RIGHTS AFTER 9/11: AN EVALUATION
This research paper summarizes and evaluates the rights of Cuban immigrants seeking to enter the United States, as they have evolved over time and in light of post-September 11, 2001 changes in American immigration policy.
From 1903 until Fidel Castro and his triumphant 26th of July movement took power on January 1, 1959, Cuba was independent but also in effect was a protectorate of the United States. Relatively few Cubans, mostly upper class and educated persons, were admitted legally to the United States. Between 1960 and 1994, more than 800,000 visaless Cubans migrated to the United States, roughly eight percent of the Cuban population. Due to the exigencies of the Cold War, American immigration law and policy accommodated and supported this massive inflow.
For a variety of foreign policy and domestic political reasons, in late 1994, American immigration policy toward Cuban refugees became much more restrictive. Interdicted either at sea by the Coast Guard or otherwise apprehended on shore, thousands of would be admittees were sent to 'safe haven' detention camps at American naval bases at Guantanamo Bay or Panama. Most of these refugees eventually were admitted to the United States; however, pursuant to agreements between the American and Cuban governments, the United States thereafter returned to Cuba most refugees who failed to reach the Florida coast under the 'wet feet, dry feet' policy which is still in force today. Some of those refugees who made it to dry land were permitted to stay as persons fleeing persecution who were granted political asylum or who evaded the American immigration authorities long enough to regularize their status under the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966 (CAA).
The terrorist attack of 1993 against the World Trade Center and the attacks of September 11, 2001 prompted Congress to enact other legislation under which immigrants from ...