Fraud abounds, as the money flows freely to Cuban immigrants, straight from the pockets of the American taxpayers.
The “Cuban Adjustment Act” gives Cuban immigrants unique access to food stamps, cash welfare, disability, Medicaid and a number of other special benefits that other illegal aliens and immigrants don’t qualify for. (See: Cubans Receive Impressive Benefits Package.)
A special report from the Florida Sun Sentinel titled “Easy Money” explains just how lucrative a deal this is for Cuban immigrants arriving in the United States.
The Sun Sentinel’s report says “America’s open-ended generosity has grown into an entitlement that exceeds $680 million a year and is exploited with ease.” It tells of Cuban immigrants who come to America, sign up for welfare benefits, then travel back and forth to Cuba at will – sometimes staying there – all while still receiving their U.S. welfare assistance.
Regulations are supposed to prohibit this practice, but the investigation proves it is done on a regular basis.
The sense of entitlement is so ingrained that Cubans routinely complained to their local congressman about the challenge of accessing U.S. aid — from Cuba.
“A family member would come into our office and say another family member isn’t receiving his benefits,” said Javier Correoso, aide to former Miami Rep. David Rivera. “We’d say, ‘Where is he?’ They’d say, ‘He’s in Cuba and isn’t coming back for six months.’”
“They’re taking benefits from the American taxpayer to subsidize their life in another country.’”
One woman told Miami immigration attorney Grisel Ybarra that her grandmother and two great aunts came to Florida, got approved for benefits, opened bank accounts and returned to Cuba. Month after month, the woman cashed their government checks — about $2,400 each time — sending half to the women in Cuba and keeping the rest.
When a welfare agency questioned the elderly ladies’ whereabouts this summer, the woman turned to Ybarra, a Cuban American. She told Ybarra her grandmother refused to come back, saying: “With the money you sent me, I bought a home and am really happy in Cuba.”
For those who have enrolled for benefits and then returned to Cuba, all it takes is a U.S. bank account and a little assistance from a friend or relative still living in the USA to continue accessing their benefits. A joint account holder can wire the money back to Cuba, so the recipient can continue living there while draining thousands from the system.
The back and forth undermines the rationale that Cubans are refugees fleeing an oppressive government, (former Congressman) Rivera said. And when they return for visits, they boast of the money that’s available in the U.S., he said. “They all say, ‘It’s great. I got free housing. I got free food. I get my medicine.’ ”
Five Cubans interviewed by the Sun Sentinel in Havana said they were aware of the assistance and knew of Cubans who had gone to America and quickly began sending money back. Two said they believed it was U.S. government aid.
Outside welfare offices in Hialeah, the Sun Sentinel found Cuban immigrants who had arrived as recently as three days earlier, applying for benefits. They said family and friends told them about the aid before they left Cuba.
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