Cubans have had a good deal when it comes to immigration in the United States − far better than most other countries. They just have to step on US soil and are on the pathway to legal residency. This preferential treatment was first established during the Cold War; however, many Cubans are afraid that it will be abolished in the light of warmer relations between the two countries, resulting in thousands of Cubans trying to get into the United States before this happens.
Many Cubans have been making their way by land by first heading to South America; however, local officials in Central American countries are suddenly not making it so easy for them and the would-be immigrants are bouncing between different borders as authorities try to decide what action to take.
The Cuban Adjustment Act enables Cubans who arrive without a US visa to stay in the United States. It was first enacted nearly 50 years ago, in 1966, to deal with an exodus that occurred after the Cuban Revolution and was later modified by President Clinton to include only those Cubans who were able to touch dry land, excluding those apprehended in American waters.
Although US officials claim they have no plans to change the law, there is pressure from Republicans to repeal it. “If President Obama has normalized relations with Cuba, why would we treat illegal immigrants from that nation any different than those from other countries?” Republican congressman Paul Gosar asked.