Improved US-Cuba relations impacts immigration

As many people in Louisiana have heard, the United States has cooled tensions with Cuba to the point that there seems to be an actual relationship between the two countries. However, there is a very interesting dynamic to this story that has very real implications on immigration of Cuban people to the United States — and it isn’t what you would think.

You would probably assume that, from an immigration standpoint, that Cuban people are thrilled to have a legitimate chance to get to the United States now. However, to the contrary, people have been trying to illegally enter the U.S. over the past couple of months in far greater numbers. Why? Because, under current policies that are likely to change given the new relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, Cuban defectors are considered political refugees in the U.S.

That grants them certain rights and benefits once they are recognized by the United States that other people who enter the country illegally obviously do not receive.

There isn’t necessarily anything “good” or “bad” about this story. But it is certainly very interesting how changes in political relationships and the laws of countries can dramatically impact how people behave — and what they are willing to do to achieve something.

Whether laws change in relation to the cooling of U.S.-Cuba hostilities remains to be seen, but it certainly seems like that is where things are heading. Ultimately, such a change is a good thing. How it will impact immigration laws here and in Cuba remains to be seen.

Source: Washington Post, “Fear of immigration policy change triggers new wave of Cuban migrants,” Nick Miroff, Jan. 27, 2015