Border Agents Warn Of Increasing Illegal Immigration From Cuba
Brittany M. Hughes
While the vast majority of illegal border crossings remain concentrated
at the Southwest U.S. border between the United States and Mexico,
Customs and Border Protection is now warning of an escalating situation
on another border front to the east: Florida.
"U.S. Border Patrol has observed a steady increase in maritime illegal
immigration and drug-smuggling attempts over the past year up and down
Florida's coastline," CBP warned in a press release issued late last week.
The immigration agency reported it apprehended 56 illegal aliens from
Cuba last week alone in a "string of landings" representing a
significant several-day spike for that particular sector. CBP notes that
after undocumented persons are apprehended along the Florida coastline,
they are admitted into the United States to await their day in court:
After admissibility processing at a Border Patrol station, Cuban
nationals will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an Immigration
Judge, for further proceedings under the Cuban Migration Agreement of
1995 and the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
According to CBP, agents with the Border Patrol Miami Sector alone
apprehended 1,752 undocumented migrants between the ports of entry in
FY2015. Only 155 cases – just under nine percent – were accepted for
In part thanks to the Cuban Adjustment Act, a 1960s-era migration law
that sought to give Cubans a sanctuary from an oppressive Communist
government, illegal Cuban migration has been a steadily rising problem
over the past few years. While the alarming spike is often overshadowed
by the larger immigration crisis stemming from Central American nations,
the Center for Immigration Studies reported 46,635 illegal aliens from
Cuba arrived in the United States unlawfully between Oct. 1 of last year
and July 31, surpassing last year's overall record of 43,154. And though
some were apprehended along the Florida coastline, the vast majority of
Cubans made their way through Central America and Mexico mixed in with
the flood of undocumented immigrants streaming through that pipeline
from other Central American nations.
These numbers represent a huge spike in illegal Cuba-to-U.S. migration,
CIS stated, pointing out that only 24,277 Cubans illegally immigrated to
the United States in 2014. That same year, CIS reports the United States
deported only 23 Cubans, 15 of whom were criminals.
CIS also noted that according to federal law, which favors Cuban
migrants without visas over those from other Latin American countries,
illegal aliens who arrive from Cuba are automatically granted social
security numbers, work permits and access to refugee benefits and
welfare, including food stamps, cash assistance and Medicaid.
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