Skip to main content

At the Summit of Americas, President Obama shared a historic hand shake with Cuban President Castro and is opening the door to diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.  Further, President Obama intends to remove Cuba from the terrorism list, eliminating a major obstacle to the restoration of diplomatic relations after decades of hostilities.  President Obama and Cuban President Castro engaged in the first such formal meeting between the leaders of the two countries in more than a half-century.  What does the renewed relations between President Obama and Cuban President Castro mean for U.S. immigration policy?  First, the U.S. will try to open a U.S. Embassy in Cuba to service U.S. citizens living in Cuba and to grant Cubans non-immigrant visas (such as tourist visa, business visas, student visas, etc.) to enter the U.S.  Second, the Cuban Adjustment Act will most likely remain on the immigration law books.  This Cold War-era law says that any Cuban who is granted parole into the United States may, after one year, apply for adjustment to permanent resident status. In the past, virtually every Cuban who made land in the United States, even if detained for a few days, gained parole and ended up with a green card.  Lastly, will the renewed relations between Obama and Cuban President Castro mean that the U.S. can now deport Cubans that have committed crimes in the U.S. – will Cuban accept these deportees?

In the end, American agree with President Obama and Cuban President Castro renewed diplomat relations.  The first-ever MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll finds that 59% of Americans, including 56% of Latinos, approve of the recent U.S. decision for diplomatic recognition of Cuba.