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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio seeks to cut off benefits for Cuban 'refugees'



Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing for an amendment to the FAA bill that would cut off federal benefits for Cubans who arrive in the U.S. and exploit the system.

“Let me paint the picture for you: You come from Cuba on the Cuban Adjustment Act, you arrive in the United States because you crossed the southwest border with Mexico or you landed on a raft on a beach somewhere in Florida. You claim your status as a Cuban refugee and less than a year later or year later you travel back to Cuba and you stay there for weeks or months at a time. But because you qualify for federal refugee benefits, you are receiving benefits from the federal government but you are living in Cuba," Rubio said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

"And how this practically works is, while you are living in Cuba, relatives or friends in America are getting hold of your benefits. They’re mailed to you or direct deposited and then they're making sure you get that money to subsidize your lifestyle. So I can tell you today unequivocally that there are people living basically permanently on the island of Cuba with occasional visits back to the United States who are living a lifestyle that is being subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer because of this abuse.

“Now this practice, quite frankly, is illegal under current law, but the responsible agencies seem to have failed to enforce this law. And so I have offered an amendment to this bill that puts an end to this abuse and puts an end to the unfairness of the existing law. And all my amendment would do is it would simply require those who come from Cuba that would still be able, under the Cuban Adjustment Act, to receive permanent status into the United States but they're going to be treated like every other immigrant and they are going to be ineligible for most federal benefit programs for five years unless they can demonstrate and prove that they qualify for refugee status."

Rubio previously filed legislation with the same goal but is seeking to attach the provision to the FAA bill.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 10:01pm]


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