The fate of the Cuban ‘Lifers’

Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have recently taken an unexpected turn. Cuba was considered the sworn enemy of the U.S. until mid-December when Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced that they were re-establishing diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of estrangement. SEE ALSO: Cuba prisoners release doesn’t change anything The announcement brought both worry and joy to Americans and Cubans alike. Those that find themselves worrying the most are known as “lifers,” immigrants convicted of crimes and in indefinite detention. Cuba refused to take back nationals who, because of criminal convictions here, have been put in deportation proceedings or just classified as inadmissible. Tens of thousands of Cubans fall into this category. About 35,000 Cubans have final orders of deportation, and more than 2,000 others have deportation cases pending in immigration court. In addition, possibly tens of thousands of other Cubans have been deemed inadmissible, making them ineligible for legal immigration papers or benefits such as work permits. Yet they remain here. Many have build productive and impactful lives, marrying, raising families, running successful businesses and excelling whatever profession they may have chosen. Some have been here for 30 years or more, which is what makes it so difficult: they have lived almost their entire lives in this country and to suddenly be expected to move back to a country that they barely know is heartbreaking and terrifying. SEE ALSO: Cuba releases political prisoners left of group of 53 in diplomatic deal The normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba is focusing attention on the limbo of these individuals, most of whom have served their prison sentences – many of them decades ago – and are now at liberty. Government officials will meet to discuss migration and normalizing ties later this month. Talks will focus on how to create safe, legal and orderly migration between the United States and Cuba.The post The fate of the Cuban ‘Lifers’ appeared first on Voxxi.

Cuban ‘lifers’ in U.S. may face deportation. (Photo: Getty Images)

Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have recently taken an unexpected turn.

Cuba was considered the sworn enemy of the U.S. until mid-December when Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced that they were re-establishing diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of estrangement.

SEE ALSO: Cuba prisoners release doesn’t change anything

The announcement brought both worry and joy to Americans and Cubans alike.

Those that find themselves worrying the most are known as “lifers,” immigrants convicted of crimes and in indefinite detention. Cuba refused to take back nationals who, because of criminal convictions here, have been put in deportation proceedings or just classified as inadmissible.

Tens of thousands of Cubans fall into this category. About 35,000 Cubans have final orders of deportation, and more than 2,000 others have deportation cases pending in immigration court. In addition, possibly tens of thousands of other Cubans have been deemed inadmissible, making them ineligible for legal immigration papers or benefits such as work permits.

Cuba
A busy street in Havana may soon be even busier. (Photo from Getty Images)

Yet they remain here. Many have build productive and impactful lives, marrying, raising families, running successful businesses and excelling whatever profession they may have chosen. Some have been here for 30 years or more, which is what makes it so difficult: they have lived almost their entire lives in this country and to suddenly be expected to move back to a country that they barely know is heartbreaking and terrifying.

SEE ALSO: Cuba releases political prisoners left of group of 53 in diplomatic deal

The normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba is focusing attention on the limbo of these individuals, most of whom have served their prison sentences – many of them decades ago – and are now at liberty.

Government officials will meet to discuss migration and normalizing ties later this month. Talks will focus on how to create safe, legal and orderly migration between the United States and Cuba.

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The post The fate of the Cuban ‘Lifers’ appeared first on Voxxi.

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