Immigration to the United States from Cuba has accelerated following President Obama’s decision to open up diplomatic talks with the island nation, according to recent statistics, with many Cubans fearing that their longstanding immigration benefits may now be in jeopardy.
481 Cubans were intercepted on rickety rafts and boats by the US Coast Guard last month, a rise of 117 per cent from December 2013. Even this figure is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to Cuban immigrants trying to get to the United States, however, as between October and December last year the number of Cuban immigrants seeking refuge in the US increased by 65 per cent to 8,624 via Miami airport and various entry ports on the border with Mexico.
While US officials have continued to say there are no plans to change the favorable immigration laws for Cubans, which effectively treat all Cuban visitors as refugees from the moment they reach US soil, the surprise diplomatic by President Obama has fueled fears that US policy toward Cuba could be about to change drastically.
Every year between 15,000 and 25,000 Cubans enter the United States via airports, beaches in south Florida and border crossings. Senator Marco Rubio is one of those who have demanded changes to the law, claiming that many immigrants are making a mockery of the US policy of treating them as refugees when they return to Cuba multiple times per year.