Cuban Migration into the U.S.
There have been several regions of United States that have gone through cultural changes throughout time. The indigenous people on the East coast went through a cultural change when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. The people that lived in the North went through a cultural change when the French entered by the St. Lawrence River bringing their Roman Catholicism religion. The people that were living in what is now Alaska went through cultural change when the Russians entered the area with their new language and orthodox religion. More recently, the people of Miami have gone through cultural changes since the Cubans have entered Southern Florida. To understand the migration of Cubans to Southern Florida, one must be familiar with the history of Cuban migration, immigration policies, and their implications.
While the United States immigration policy has traditionally reflected economic and xenophobic concerns, the United States refugee policy has reflected foreign policy concerns. During the Cold War, U.S. refugee policy was used as a tool to embarrass communist regimes. In the process of shaming communist countries, refugees from these states were evidence that the U.S. was winning its tussle with communism. A 1953 National Security Council memorandum cited the 1953 Refugee Act as a way to "encourage defection of all USSR nations and 'key' personnel from the satellite countries' in order to 'inflict a psychological blow on
Communism’, and a material loss to the Soviet Union" (Zolberg, 123-124).
In 1959, the U.S. was afforded the opportunity to implement the 1953 memorandum when Fidel Castro implemented a communist government in Cuba. It is likely that the composers of the memorandum did not anticipate a flow of refugees with less than one hundred miles to travel. However, the United States stuck to their policy and by the early 80’s, approximately one million Cubans had fled to the United States.
The fall of the Soviet Union ushered in a new era of refugee and immigration policy toward Cubans. The collapse of the Soviet Union also meant the cessation of aid to its satellites. Without Soviet aid, conditions in Cuba steadily deteriorated, and the people of Cuba took to the streets in protest. In 1994, Castro answered the uprising by allowing Cubans to leave the country unmolested, and about thirty thousand obliged by taking boats to the United States. However, prior to the mass exodus, the United States policy towards Cuba was beginning to: "First, with the end of the Cold War, there was less need to embarrass the communist regime in Cuba, although the U.S. maintained its embargo against the island. Second, there was continuing public pressure to limit immigration. Finally, it became apparent to some U.S. officials
Castro would continue to use refugee flows to rid the country of opponents or undesirable elements" (Crisp, 218).
In addition to the aforementioned reasons, the United...