Federal immigration ruling is a setback for Cubans who come over the border
Record numbers of Cuban migrants have been entering the U.S. over the southern border in recent years — but a new federal ruling means many of them aren’t eligible for the fast-track U.S. residency Cubans take for granted.
The 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act grants lawful residency to Cuban migrants who’ve lived in the U.S. for at least a year after entering the country legally. Few if any other migrant groups enjoy that privilege.
But it’s that last part — legal entry — that’s at the crux of a U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals ruling issued Monday that will be a blow to thousands of recently arrived Cubans.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans, desperate to flee their communist island's political repression and economic disaster, have recently come to the U.S. — not by raft at sea but by foot on land, across the southern border. And when the arrive, many have requested asylum using what’s called an I-220A form.
But being allowed into the U.S. under that asylum-seeking status does not technically constitute legal entry. As a result, those Cubans have often been denied humanitarian parole, or legal entry status, and are therefore not eligible for the Adjustment Act.
Last year, immigration advocates petitioned to have the I-220A status recognized as legal entry. But the immigration appeals board has now rejected that argument.