Murky details of Marco Rubio’s maternal grandfather’s experience with U.S. immigration officials are making news this week, as the Associated Press unearthed federal records under a Freedom of Information Act request. The details, however, are as incomplete as the immigration records appear to be sketchy. The AP says that the maternal grandfather of a Florida U.S. Senators was ordered deported back to Cuba in 1962.
The details are unclear concerning what transpired after the deportation order issued. The records do show that Rubio’s grandfather was allowed to remain in the United States after the immigration judge ordered the removal. The climate at the time is attributed for the reason that Rubio’s grandfather was allowed to remain in the U.S.
The grandfather originally entered the U.S. in 1956 on an immigration family visa. His wife and family had left Cuba earlier in time, and Rubio’s grandfather sought to join his family in the states. However, after Fulgencia Batista was replaced by Fidel Castro, the grandfather returned to Cuba for a period of time.
But he reportedly fled Cuba once again under the Castro regime and upon his re-entry to the U.S. in the summer of ’62, the grandfather applied for admission as a “returning resident” of the U.S. However, he had been out of the country for over a year. That amount of time caused problems because he had been out of the country longer than his U.S. permanent residency visa allowed.
An inter-agency immigration memo claims that the grandfather said upon re-entry that he was returning because he had no family in Cuba. U.S. immigration officials concluded that the statement suggested that the grandfather was not claiming political asylum. That later apparently led to the 1962 deportation order.
The political climate of the times later served as the basis for Congress to pass the Cuban Adjustment Act in 1966, which officially allowed the grandfather to legally remain permanently in the country. Records are unclear regarding what occurred between 1962 and 1966, although again, many Cubans were allowed to stay as exiles, even without all of the necessary visas at that time.
A senior political fellow at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies says that immigration issues were much different in the 1960s.
Rubio reportedly is working on an alternative version of the DREAM Act, which is believed to be a scaled down version of the measure that has yet to pass Congress. The measure reportedly would allow non-immigrant visas for certain young people who entered the country with parents. The visa would allow the young people to remain in the country legally to pursue a college education or serve in the military.
A reporter recently asked House Speaker John Boehner whether an immigration measure that focuses on issues other than border security could pass yet this year. He reportedly responded that, “There’s always hope.” However, the speaker says that today’s hostile political climate would make passage of Rubio’s proposal “difficult at best,” according to the Washington Post.
The Miami Herald, “Rubio’s grandfather was ordered deported,” Laura Wides-Munoz-Associated Press, April 25, 2012
The Washington Post, “John Boehner doubts Marco Rubio immigration plan could pass House this year,” Ed O’Keefe, April 26, 2012