News and Facts about Cuba

U.S. Senator Rubio wants to end some benefits for Cuban immigrants

U.S. Senator Rubio wants to end some benefits for Cuban immigrants
April 13, 2016

Former Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio passes by
reporter’s after voting on Capitol Hill in Washington March 17, 2016.
REUTERS/Gary Cameron
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Marco Rubio called on Wednesday for a
change in U.S. policy toward Cuban immigrants, seeking to stop providing
refugee benefits to those coming from the island strictly for economic

“In essence, our existing law treats all Cubans categorically as if they
were refugees whether or not they can prove it,” the Florida Republican
said in a Senate speech.

Currently, all Cubans are eligible for welfare payments and other public
assistance during their first five years in the United States. They are
the only immigrant group to receive such benefits.

Rubio is the son of immigrants who moved to Florida from Cuba in the
1950s, before the island’s Communist revolution that led to a
decades-long U.S. trade .

Cuba has come up during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Rubio, a
former candidate, staunchly opposes Democratic Barack Obama’s
recent moves toward more normal relations with Havana, as does
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, also a Cuban-American, who remains in the
presidential race.

Rubio filed his legislation as an amendment to a Federal Aviation
Administration reauthorization measure being considered by the Senate
this week.

Some lawmakers have been demanding a new look at Cuban immigration
policy since the surprise December 2014 announcement from Obama and
Cuban President that the two countries would move toward
ending decades of estrangement.

Rubio said the United States spent $680 million in 2014 supporting Cuban
migrants, a total that has since grown. Some Cubans who say they are
fleeing in their homeland repeatedly return to the island,
he said.

“It’s difficult to justify someone’s refugee status when after arriving
in the United States, they are traveling back to the place they are
quote/unquote fleeing from 10, 15, 20, 30 times a year,” Rubio said.

Rubio said he was not seeking to change the Cuban Adjustment Act, a Cold
War-era law allowing Cuban immigrants to enter the United States, or
deny refugee benefits to those who deserve them.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: U.S. Senator Rubio wants to end some benefits for Cuban
immigrants –

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