14ymedio, Havana, 15 August 2019 — The United States has tightened the requirements for the children of Cubans born abroad to qualify for the Cuban Adjustment Act. From now on, it will be essential to present a Cuban passport or a letter of citizenship, according to a memorandum published Tuesday by the United States Immigration Service (USCIS).
Until now, Cubans who had not been born on the Island had to register with the Cuban consulate to obtain nationality and regularize their status in the United States under the Law that, since 1966, has allowed them to obtain permanent residence after living in the country for one year.
Now, instead, they must obtain the aforementioned citizenship letter endorsed by the Cuban Government.
As Alejandro Hezquez Sánchez, an expert immigration lawyer, explained to El Nuevo Herald, until now, a birth certificate was considered proof of Cuban citizenship in the United States.
“The USCIS documents affirmed that the passport was the best proof of citizenship, followed by the birth certificate issued by the Ministry of Justice or failing that the consular certificate, issued by the Cuban consul. In 2017 the consular certificate was eliminated as proof of citizenship,” said the lawyer.
Since 2018, to issue a birth certificate to a foreign-born Cuba, the applicant must ask from the document from at least one of their parents and registration in Cuba’s Department of Immigration and Aliens. As of now, USCIS no longer considers this document valid to qualify for the Adjustment Act.
“Basically the children of Cubans have to continue taking the same steps: they register at the consulate, wait for a birth certificate to be issued before the Civil Registry, but then they have to take a third step which is the registration before the Department of Immigration and Aliens which issues a ’resolution’ of Cuban citizenship, or letter of citizenship. Only when that file is completed can they request a Cuban passport,” explained the lawyer.
Another lawyer who is an immigration expert, Wilfredo Allen, told the press that “the most serious thing (…) is that it prevents applicants from appealing the decision if it is negative”
“Over 20 years I have accompanied many Venezuelan descendants of Cubans in their process to regularize [their status in the United States] through the Adjustment Act. This further complicates the procedures for this group that is in a vulnerable situation,” he said.
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