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Rivera's Cuban Readjustment Act reforms get a hearing

Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., had a hearing Thursday on his proposed changes to the Cuban Adjustment Act. The Miami lawmaker wants to change the law to prohibit Cubans who claim political asylum in the United States from returning to the island nation. The proposal would revoke the residency status of any Cuban national who returns to Cuba after receiving political asylum and residency in the United States under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Since 1981, more than 500,000 Cubans have become permanent U.S. residents. (Or naturalized U.S. citizens.) On average, there have been about 45,000 new arrivals a year in recent years, Rivera's office said this week.

It's unclear, though, how many of those people actually return to Cuba each year. What is clear: Travel has become easier under the Obama administration, which eased rules that formerly allowed family members to return only every three years.

Critics of the bill, which has no co-sponsors, say that if it were to pass, it needs loopholes, including allowing people who seek asylum to return to Cuba to visit sick or dying relatives.

It "turns the act of travel to Cuba into a deportable offense," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee subcommittee that heard the bill.

"No matter what the reason for stepping foot in Cuba, you lose your status," Lofgren said. "If you go to visit family members you haven’t seen in years, you lose your status. If you go to attend a funeral or donate a kidney to a dying relative, you lose your status. If you go to meet with Cuban dissidents with the aim of transitioning Cuba to a democracy, you lose your status."

Rivera says that Cuban-Americans increasingly cite family reunification to justify travel that "in reality more closely resembles common tourism." Because many Cubans who seek asylum in the United States receive food stamps and other welfare benefits while they're acclimating to this country, Rivera says it's conceivable U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing some trips back to Cuba.

Lofgren said her office checked out that claim, and could find no examples of such abuse -- yet offered to help write legislation that would "revoke public benefits for any person who spent an inordinate amount of time in Cuba, absent truly extraordinary circumstances." Rivera's office turned down their offer, Lofgren said.

Comments

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tarpley

Another GOP Idiot.

Andres Bustamante

Leave it up to a Miami Cuban to try to deny us, as American citizens, out Constitutional right to travel. Had to be a Cuba! Trying to do here what they did back in Cuba--deny people's rights. That's all that these Cubans know how to do.

Andres Bustamante

All these Cuban Mafia idiots fail to realize that Cubans in the USA are insignificant. Cuba tourism is alive and well with over 14 million Canadians and Europeans visiting Cuba and spending billions of Canadian dollars and Euros in Cuba. Cuba is alive and well and thriving with Chinese and Mexican investments. Money is poring in from Brazil, Latin America's largest economy. So who are these clowns kidding but themselves!?!

pedro animala

Better yet...why not declare them illegal immigrants, like all others. No food stamps, no medicaid, no business licenses, no medicare/medicaid corruption, no political power; just plain illegals..

dogboy

what does the retard zoe lofgren know about cuba?

Daniel

Just get rid of the CAA altogether. Fact is Cubans left and right are traveling back home to Cuba, and since all of them are covered under the CAA as political refugees, it might as well just be thrown out altogether and people who want to claim asylum should do it like those from every other country do it. These no such thing as Cuban "exiles" anymore. Rivera simply wants to end all trips to Cuba. Isn't gonna happen. I hope Joe Garcia kicks his ass in November.

Daniel

correction: There's no such thing as Cuban exiles anymore.

catalina

Ya es hora de que alguien haga algo por la libertad de Cuba. Su idea es excelente hasta que no se termine la entrada de dolares a la isla no habran cambios. Si nos llaman mafia por oponernos al relajo que hay hoy en dia, cual nombre se le puede dar a los que estan manteniendo al regimen de los Castros. Viven de los que pagamos los taxes abusando de los programas de este pais, y se la pasan viajando a Cuba, descarados!!! hay que ponerle fin a esto. Congresista David Rivera usted si es Cubano de verdad. Viva Cuba libre, Dios lo bendiga.

John McAuliff

It is past time for the outdated Cuban Adjustment Act to be repealed, or suspended if the White House has the power.

The CAA is responsible for lives lost at sea and human trafficking.

Those Cubans who are really political refugees should face the same need to justify their claim as people from every other country of the world.

Joe Garcia needs to take on the Cuba issue more aggressively than he did in his previous campaign against Rivera and demonstrate he is offers a rational alternative.

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Daniel

Well, John, i would first and foremost blame the totalitarian Cuban regime for all the lives lost at sea. After all, if Cuba were a socialist paradise, why the need to sail away? Not too mention the crap about needing an exit permit to leave the country. But i agree, end the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act. Most Cubans now a day travel freely back and forth to the island, hence their not exiles. Rivera's bill is crap.

mayda  pagonis

i,am cuban and it,s true they come to usa and go back whit mi money living on welfare and stiling in store to go cuba and play like a rich to others a lot of historie with all this people not five years ,until they get american citizen learn how to work and live the american way with respect and dignity plus do not icluded all people in one petition like i,do to a brother and he bring one women and child welfare suport all 3 not me ahh shi dont want to work who i thank for this,to me give the document free and maken work.

hector santana

I think that the original intention of the Cuban Adjustment Act(CAA) has been abused given that the US government hasn't been giving proper oversight. When a person ask for political asylum it is because they have a provable and legitimate fear of persecution for their lives.

Not because you don't have all the same civil liberties in Cuba that you would have in the United States or other countries. Also, a Cuban national who migrated to another country, lived somewhere else for any amount of time, became citizen of that country, shouldn't qualify for the CAA. The reason being is they are not being actively persecuted when they have been living in another country, specially when they travel back and forth to Cuba, as they please.

I believe it is unjust that a Cuban national can show up anywhere in the United Stated, claim that he wants political asylum, without a valid reason, get a US resident status and reap all the benefits this country can offer, over someone who waits years to come to this country for the same opportunity.

Many Cuban, but not all, have this sense of entitlement over other latinos in south Florida. Because the Cuban community is south Florida is so strong both in the political and economical aspect, the Cuban community can influence local, state and perhaps federal elections towards their advantage.

I think the United States should end the trade embargo, end the CAA, and just treat Cuba as any other latin country, by allowing free trade and travel.

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