The number of Cuban migrants entering the U.S through the Mexican border seeking asylum has surged and is on pace to to be the most in over ten years, according to an analysis released Monday.
Under current interpretations of the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuban migrants who come into the U.S are the beneficiaries of “wet foot, dry foot.” As long as they make it to the U.S. they qualify for asylum as American officials operate under the assumption Cubans have a credible fear of persecution if they are returned to their nation.
The thought of Cubans floating on rafts north to Florida is what most Americans think about Cuban migration, but recent figures paint a different picture. “The reality is that an average of 70 percent of total visa-less Cuban aliens per fiscal year (FY) enter the United States through Laredo, Texas. The Miami port of entry encounters an average of 13 percent of the total visa-less Cuban aliens per fiscal year,” the Center of Immigration Studies (CIS) wrote in their report on Cuban migration.
In FY 2015, 43,154 Cubans without visas arrived in the U.S, this was a nearly double increase of the 24,277 Cuban migrants in FY 2014. So far in FY 2016 through February 24, 25,806 Cuban migrants have applied for asylum. Fiscal Years extend from October 1 of one year to September 30 of the next.
Cuban immigrants in the U.S receive access to federal welfare benefits, Medicaid, a work permit, and are issued a Social Security number.