With nearly 2 million Cubans in the United States, approximately 400,000 travelled last year to Cuba. Fifty percent of family members who travel to Cuba are U.S. residents, not citizens. U.S. Rep. David Rivera has proposed an amendment to make it illegal for Cuban residents living in the U.S. to travel to Cuba for any reason (i.e. a death in the family, daughter is sick…etc.) and then return to the United States. What will happen if this goes into effect? Well, before that happens, the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights (CACFR) is speaking out; and its executive director, Silvia Wilhelm, said, “We will fight this cruelty proposed by Rivera.” The Latin America Working Group is 100% behind CACFR. See below for CACFR’s full press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2012
Contact: Alvaro Fernandez
Rivera amendment would only help break Cuban family ties
MIAMI – Almost 50 percent of family members who travel to Cuba are U.S. residents who have yet to attain citizenship, according to figures released by executives of the travel to Cuba industry in Miami. As a result,the Cuban American Commission for Family Right (CACFR) has issued a warning that a new proposed amendment to the Cuban Adjustment Act, presented by U.S. Rep. David Rivera, would assure that these family ties are severely broken.
“In 2009, President Obama rightfully made family unity and the right of family members to travel a priority of his Cuba policy,” said Alvaro F. Fernandez, CACFR president. Adding, “Rivera’s amendment would undo the president’s mandate, simply for electoral reasons.”
Rivera’s H.R. 2831 would amend Public Law 89-732 (Cuban Adjustment Act) and disallow Cubans who are not yet U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. It plainly states: “An alien shall be ineligible for adjustment of status under this section if the alien returns to Cuba after admission or parole into the United States.”
Translation: If you travel to Cuba, for whatever the reason before becoming a U.S. citizen, when you return you will be present in the country illegally.
Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, warned in an El Nuevo Herald article, “Many persons might be deported unjustly” if the Rivera amendment is approved. In the same article, he emphatically stated: “This is nothing more than a cruelty in the name of ideological isolation of Cuba and an unnecessary restriction on the freedom to travel.”
Silvia Wilhelm, CACFR executive director, said, “We will fight this cruelty proposed by Rivera. South Floridians and persons from around the U.S. are tired of Rivera’s anti-family, electoral antics.”
There are nearly two million Cubans in the United States. Most reside in Florida. Industry figures indicate that almost 400,000 travelled last year to Cuba – the great majority to visit and help family members on the island.
The Cuban American Commission for Family Rights was created in 2004 to fight all attacks against the Cuban family. Since then the Commission has been critical of negative actions imposed by both the U.S. government and the Cuban government.