Cubans flee to the US in record numbers

More Cuban immigrants are fleeing to the US in 2016 than in any other year for several decades, new data from the Pew Research Center has revealed. However, in the past, greater influxes of Cuban immigrants had been handled by the US, whose sizeable community of Cuban immigrants is more than capable of integrating the newcomers.

The majority of Cubans are not attempting to enter the US by illegal means. Most are presenting themselves to immigration agents at a port of entry security checkpoint. Net Cuban immigration peaked during the 1960s, after the island’s communist takeover. The amount of Cuban immigrants in the US grew by as much as 360,000 between 1960 and 1970. This rapid growth has not been matched in any subsequent decade.

The Cuban population of the US has grown at a more gradual rate since 1970, reaching nearly 1.2 million by 2014. During the last decade, around 60 percent of Cuban immigrants to the US arrived at legal points of entry such as border crossing stations or airports, but without a US visa. Just 14 percent were caught trying to sneak into the country elsewhere without documentation. The remaining 26 percent were legal immigrants.

Cubans without valid documentation are happy to use official ports of entry as most will be given legal, permanent residency via the Cuban Adjustment Act, which automatically grants Cuban immigrants asylum if they are able to get to the US.