The U.S. relationship with Cuba has changed over the years. We fought a war in Cuba when it was part of Spain. We supported one dictator (Fulgencio Batista) and tried to overthrow and poison the next one (Fidel Castro). A nuclear war nearly started because of Russian missiles on the island in 1962. The two countries were cold warriors 90 miles apart from each other for decades, then the relationship warmed under President Obama and chilled again under President Trump. If you live in Kentucky but have family members in Cuba, you’ve ridden this roller coaster over the years.
The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) is a more recent development in the history of our relations and how the U.S. has treated Cuban families. It allows certain eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for parole for their family members in Cuba. Parole means the family member can come to and live in the U.S. though he or she doesn’t fit into the current scheme of immigration rules, regulations and laws. It’s a loophole created for Cuban families.
Cuban immigrants who are lawful, permanent residents or U.S. citizens can petition for Cuban relatives to immigrate to the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. Normally that would mean the person in Cuba would wait until their immigrant visa becomes available (the “priority date”), which may take many years due to backlogs. Once in the U.S. program, beneficiaries can seek work authorization while they wait to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
This process replaced the “wet foot/dry foot” approach which generally allowed Cubans who reached U.S. soil to stay. Those caught at sea by the Coast Guard were normally returned to Cuba.
All countries in Latin America have their challenges. Cubans need to live through the one-two punch of a one-party government that doesn’t tolerate dissent and a struggling economy.
- The Cuban government represses dissent and punishes public criticism, according to Human Rights Watch. Though long-term prison sentences for critics is less common, arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders and independent journalists have gone up dramatically in recent years. The government also uses beatings, public shaming and termination of employment to control the population.
- Kentucky’s gross domestic product (GDP) per person is about three times that of Cuba. GDP is the measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period of time.
- Cuba is one of the world’s last Communist governments. State control of the economy is pervasive and as a result the economy is very inefficient, according to the Heritage Foundation. The rules on private employment have eased, but much of the Cuban work force is employed by the government. Private property is strictly regulated.
If you live in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, and you have family members in Cuba and have questions about CFRP, immigration law in general or need representation in an immigration matter, Carman & Fullerton can help you, whether you speak English or Spanish. Your future and that of your family is at stake, so contact us today.