Tags: Castro-Cuba | cuba | normalizations | cubans | criminals | Mariel Boatlift

Cubans in US With Criminal Records Now Fear Being Deported

By    |   Monday, 19 January 2015 10:55 AM

President Barack Obama's executive action to normalize relations with Cuba has thousands of Cubans, many residing in the U.S. for decades, looking over their shoulders and getting ready to run.

American and Cuban authorities will begin meeting this week in Havana, and one of the topics on the agenda will be status of nearly 35,000 Cubans who have been ordered deported but remain in the U.S. because the Castro government has refused to take them back, The New York Times reports.

A senior administration source told the Times that getting Cuba to allow those ordered deported to return is a priority for the administration.

"Absolutely, we will be talking about the issue — about Cuba meeting its commitments to take back its nationals,” the official told the Times. "If you are talking about normalizing relations, this is part of normalizing."

Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News Latino, “I think Cuba's agreement to take back its own citizens should be a prerequisite for normalizing relations. We did not insist on an agreement to take back deportees when we established relations with Vietnam, and we should have."

However, the deportation issue could have serious implications for the 2016 presidential race.

Ira Kurzban, an immigration attorney in Miami, told Fox News, "Deporting them would be complicated by the politics of Florida and the strength of the Cuban-American community. With 2016 elections coming, and Florida being a swing state, do you really want to move to deport Cubans whose spouses and children are U.S. citizens, and who are politically active?

"You’re talking about people in many cases who have been here 30 or more years. That’s what makes it more difficult than anything else," Kurzban said. "They’re people who’ve lived here almost their whole lives."

Two-thirds of Cuban immigrants, or about one million people, live in Florida, U.S. Immigration reports, including about 900 remaining out of the Mariel Boatlift who entered the U.S. in 1980, many from prisons and insane asylums in Cuba, when Castro took the opportunity to get rid of them.

Only about 10 percent or Cubans ordered deported from the U.S., or about 3,000, actually have been deported.

In 1984, the Times reports, Cuba agreed to take back 2,746 of those ordered deported, mostly part of the 125,000 Mariel Cubans. So far, Cuba has agreed to accept only five non-Mariel deportees.

Many Cubans who got into legal trouble in the U.S. agreed to deportation as part of a plea bargain, knowing that their actual deportation was highly unlikely. Now, with normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the very real possibility of their deportation is looming.

Krikorian criticized Obama, telling The Boston Globe he should have obtained an agreement that Cuba would accept its deportees before agreeing to renew ties.

"Unless we hold something over them, why would they do something they don’t want to do? Why would Cuba comply when they got what they want?

"Basically, Uncle Sam blinked."

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President Barack Obama's executive action to normalize relations with Cuba has thousands of Cubans, many residing in the U.S. for decades, looking over their shoulders and getting ready to run.
cuba, normalizations, cubans, criminals, Mariel Boatlift
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2015-55-19
Monday, 19 January 2015 10:55 AM
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