The pace of immigration from Cuba is up 78 percent this year after President Barack Obama rekindled relationships with the island last December.
Cubans have wasted no time pursuing the American dream. Pew Research Center reports that 27,296 Cubans have entered the country during the first nine months of the year, compared to 15,341 in 2014.
The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 makes Cuban citizens subject to more relaxed immigration laws compared to other nationalities. As long as they pass a background check at the point of entry, Cubans are free to stay in the U.S. and may pursue legal permanent residence after just one year.
The numbers show that the spike jumped immediately after Obama decided to rekindle diplomatic relations with Cuba at the end of last year, later reopening the U.S. Embassy in Havana in July. At the time, a majority of Americans supported more open relations and a termination of the 54-year-old trade embargo, which still is in place. (VIDEO: Rubio: ‘The US Has Surrendered’ To Cuba)
Pew reports that the number of Cubans caught at sea and returned to Cuba have surged as well. This way of entering the country is still illegal and the U.S. Coast Guard has apprehended almost 3,000 Cubans thus far in 2015.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited Havana this week and said the final termination of the trade embargo will happen, but that it might take some time as Cuba’s policies and double currency system makes it unattractive for investors.
“The president wants to see the embargo lifted, but the president realizes it will take time,” she said.
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