US Takes A Hard Line Position On Haitian And Cuban Immigration
Normally, there are a number of immigration programs to help people who are fleeing violence, oppression or unrest in their home countries. Whether it be asylum, or a country being put on a temporary protected status, when drastic but temporary conditions exist, the United States often makes exceptions for immigrants fleeing from those countries.
No Exceptions for Cubans and Haitians
But the recent unrest in Cuba seems to be an exception, at least for now. The US has said that even if people are fleeing Cuba because they fear persecution in the face of the unrest on the island, they will not be allowed into the United States (or at least, they will not be given any special exceptions).
The same holds true for Haitian immigrants, who may be fleeing unrest in Haiti, caused by the recent assassination of the Haitian president.
Homeland Security has said those trying to flee will be met by the Coast Guard and returned. Those who do seek asylum won’t be allowed into the United States. Rather they will be sent to other, third countries, to be resettled if their applications are granted.
Policy Has Been Consistent
This is not a change in US policy towards Cuba or Cubans, but has a greater impact now, given the upheaval on the island. In some cases, asylum seekers are sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for asylum interviews. They then are often resettled in places like Australia. Both Cuban and Haitian refugees have often been held at Guantanamo.
The US has stopped or halted certain deportation actions for those already in the United States, at least, for those who could be deported back to Haiti. And the US says that asylum is still available for those who are fleeing a “well-founded” fear of torture or persecution. But some see the attitude towards Cubans and Haitians to be contrary to that position, and an affront to the US system of asylum.
Officials say that despite the unrest in both countries, there has not been any surge in the amount of immigrants seeking entry into the United States—at least, not by water. According to Homeland Security, more Cuban and Haitian refugees are picked up and detained at the Mexican border, than by sea.
No More Advantages for Some Refugees
Cuban refugees used to benefit from what was known as “wet foot dry foot.” Under that policy, unlike immigrants from any other country, Cuban immigrants received an expedited path to citizenship once they set foot on American soil. Cubans could even apply for green cards, just two years after arriving in America. Much of these advantages were reactions to Fidel Castro’s oppressive Cuban communist regime.
But in an effort to improve relationships with Cuba, in 2017, that policy ended.
Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group today with any questions that you may have about immigration for you or your family.