Wander through any Havana neighborhood on a typical weekend and it won’t take long before you hear a familiar sound: the wales of joy expressed by reunited Cubans returning home from the US to see their families.
According to a report by Pew Research Center, the number of Cubans who have entered the US has spiked dramatically under President Obama.
Cubans seeking to enter the US may receive special treatment under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Those hoping to live in the US legally need only show up at a port of entry and pass an inspection, which includes a check of criminal and immigration history in the US. After a year in the country, they may apply for legal permanent residence.
Overall, 43,159 Cubans entered the U.S. via ports of entry in fiscal year 2015, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. This represents a 78% increase over the previous year, when 24,278 Cubans entered. And those 2013 numbers had already increased dramatically after the Cuban government lifted travel restrictions. By comparison, in fiscal 2011, just 7,759 Cubans came into the U.S.
The history of Cuban emigration to the US can be divided into two periods.
The first wave of immigration of Cuban Americans from Cuba to the US resulted from establishment of Cuban cigar factories in Tampa and from attempts to overthrow Spanish colonial rule by the movement led by José Martí.
The second second stemmed from dissatisfaction with communist rule by Fidel Castro following the Cuban Revolution. Massive Cuban migration to Miami during the second series led to major demographic and cultural changes in Miami.