How will US-Cuba diplomacy affect green cards?

The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 has allowed hundreds of thousands Cubans as well as their spouses and children to obtain permanent residence in America after settling in the country. However, many awaiting their green cards are now in fear that this act will be abolished as the U.S. and Cubans restore diplomatic relations.

While these concerns may be justified, experts believe that it’s unlikely the Cuban Adjustment Act will go away anytime soon. Mario Urizar, a South Florida attorney, said in a written statement that the process of repeal would be too complicated and requires a bipartisan decision, according to the El Nuevo Herald.

“A lot needs to be done in order to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act,” Urizar said. “In order for this to happen the president and Congress need to work together in determining that Cuba has a democratically elected government – which is far from realization.”

As Urizar stated, there are two main paths that could lead to a nullification of the act and devastate Cubans awaiting green card approval:

  • If a congressional action specifically repealed the law
  • If the president submitted a determination to Congress that Cuba was being controlled by a democratically elected government

Neither of these circumstances are likely. However, there could be repercussions for Cubans living in the U.S. who are under deportation orders.

“But, what is true, is these recent talks between the U.S. and Cuba could lead to Cubans being physically deported,” Urizar said. “Currently, the majority of Cubans with Removal or Deportation orders … are not subject to physical removal because Cuba will not accept them. As these talks with Cuba continue, I don’t see why the United States would pass on the opportunity to try to secure physical removals for these individuals back to Cuba.”