Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on H.R. 2831, to Amend Public Law 89-732 to Modify the Requirement for a Cuban National to Qualify for and Maintain Status as a Permanent Resident

Statement

By:  Elton Gallegly
Date: May 31, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Over the last two years, due to changes in U.S. policy, there has been a marked increase in travel to Cuba. In fact, travel from the U.S. to that country has tripled, with most of the increase coming as a result of travelers taking multiple trips per year. As a result, visiting Cuban-Americans have become one of the Castro regime's top sources of revenue.

The Cuban Adjustment Act was enacted in 1966 to provide Cubans fleeing persecution with the ability to adjust to permanent residency status in the U.S. after one year. However, some Cubans who sought refuge in the U.S. under the CAA immediately and repeatedly travel back to Cuba once they receive permanent residence. Essentially, they are returning to the very same country that supposedly persecuted them.

The original intent of the CAA must be maintained. The law was enacted to provide permanent residency to Cuban refugees who were not able to return to Cuba due to the fear of persecution and the political situation in that country. Today, the political situation in Cuba remains the same, with a communist dictatorship that denies basic human rights to its people. The fact that some persons avail themselves of the CAA citing political persecution, and then quickly travel back to the persecuting country, is an abuse of the generosity of the American people and, I believe, unacceptable.

H.R. 2831 will rectify these abuses. The bill amends the CAA so that Cuban nationals who obtain permanent residence pursuant to the CAA will have their permanent resident status revoked if they travel to Cuba. The bill will help ensure that the CAA continues to protect Cuban refugees who are truly fleeing persecution, without becoming a vehicle to support the economy of the Castro regime.