Analysis: Cuba’s immigration reform casts spotlight on decades-old U.S. law

MIAMI (Reuters) – Cuba’s decision this week to make it easier to leave and enter the country is unlikely in the short term to prompt a sudden exodus, but could result in a rethinking of preferential treatment Cuban migrants have long received in the United States.

Alarmed by the number of Cubans arriving in Miami for economic reasons, rather than the political causes that prompted earlier waves of migration from the island, even some Cuban exiles are increasingly questioning a decades-old law that has guaranteed Cubans safe haven in the United States.

The Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966 was passed during the Lyndon Johnson administration to adjust the status of some 300,000 Cubans who found themselves in legal limbo after fleeing Cuba’s socialist revolution of 1959, arriving in the United States on temporary refugee visas.

The law was unusual, as it did not require the Cubans to make a case for political asylum, and automatically granted them entry and the path to permanent residency.