FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on September 14, 2023
Florida– We are deeply concerned about the recent federal ruling that will have significant repercussions for thousands of Cubans seeking permanent residency in the United States. The decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which deems Cubans with an I-220A document ineligible for the protections provided by the Cuban Adjustment Act, is disheartening and unjust.
For decades, the Cuban Adjustment Act has been a lifeline for many Cubans fleeing persecution and seeking a better life in the United States. It has allowed them to pursue a path to permanent residency faster than other nationalities, offering hope and stability to those who have faced unimaginable challenges.
Tessa Petit, our Executive Director, stated, “In light of the recent federal ruling, we are concerned for the thousands of recently arrived Cubans who have come to the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border. The Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision has the potential to significantly impact their prospects for permanent U.S. residency. As an organization dedicated to advocating for immigrant rights and equitable immigration policies, we recognize the importance of the Cuban Adjustment Act, which has historically provided a pathway to green cards and permanent residency for eligible Cubans. This act has played a vital role in helping many Cubans establish a new life in the United States. “This ruling, as affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals, has far-reaching implications for Cubans who have arrived through the U.S.-Mexico border and received the I-220A documentation. It’s disheartening to see that this outdated interpretation of the Cuban Adjustment Act is now leaving many individuals in a state of uncertainty, unable to access the path to legal residency they had hoped for. We are committed to supporting these individuals as they navigate the challenges ahead and advocating for a fair resolution to this issue.”
Ana Sofía Peláez, Executive Director of Miami Freedom Project, stated: “For decades, the Cuban Adjustment Act has set a standard for a humane and responsive resettlement process that enables newly arrived immigrants seeking refuge to more readily resume their lives, support their families, and begin contributing to everyone’s benefit. The program should be extended to other nationalities not curtailed, much less denied to Cuban refugees who would have begun their own perilous journey with a reasonable expectation that they would qualify under existing law. That families would find themselves under different processes despite applying under the same circumstances will only overburden an already overtaxed and broken immigration system and cause undue hardship to newly arriving Cubans and their families.”
This decision is especially concerning as it adds to the existing complexities of the immigration system, leaving individuals with limited options for legalizing their status. This ruling underscores the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the challenges faced by immigrants from all backgrounds. The Florida Immigrant Coalition remains committed to advocating for fair and just immigration policies that respect the dignity and human rights of all individuals, regardless of their country of origin. We stand in solidarity with the affected Cuban communities, and we urge federal authorities to reconsider this ruling.