Lost in the midst of President Obama's announcement last month that the U.S. would be begin to overhaul its diplomatic relations with Cuba is the Cuban Adjustment Act, passed in 1966. The policy was meant to be a humanitarian effort, allowing Cuban immigrants access to the United States, even illegally, in order to escape the Castro regime.
But a yearlong investigation by the Sun Sentinel shows that Cuban criminals have taken advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act and have plundered U.S. businesses and taxpayers of more than $2 billion over the past two decades.
The massive and well-reported three-part report, titled "The Plundering of America: The Cuban Criminal Pipeline," details the enormity and scope of these crimes with a video, photographs, and interactive features, along with some fantastic reporting that shows just how intricate the crimes are and how nearly impossible it is for authorities to capture and prosecute the criminals.
What the Sentinel found was that criminals have been taking advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act -- a policy that gives Cuban nationals privileges immigrants from other nations do not get -- in a major way.
The overall scope of the exhaustive report shows just how the money stolen by these criminals in the United States goes back and forth between this country and the island nation via this antiquated policy that many politicians admit needs to desperately be revisited and amended.
While the policy has helped a large majority of law-abiding Cuban nationals, a small faction of Cuban criminals are doing the damage through crimes such as Medicare fraud, credit card fraud, cargo theft, marijuana farming, and insurance fraud with staged car accidents.
One official the Sun Sentinel spoke with says that Castro takes advantage of the swinging-door policy and allows criminals to take millions of dollars back to the island with impunity.
Through its investigation, the Sentinel found that criminals go back and forth between the U.S. and Cuba and escape prosecution. The investigation took reporters into Cuba itself, where they found fugitives living openly there. Some are living there luxuriously. Some own two cars where most Cubans don't own even one.
One of the criminals there, a man who is atop Interpol's most-wanted list, openly dared U.S. authorities to "come to Cuba to look for me. Do it if you can!"
He's this brazen, the report reveals, because he knows he can't be touched by U.S. authorities.
The criminals who are in living in the U.S. know they can't even be deported back to Cuba because Fidel simply won't take them back. The criminals know this and act accordingly.
The entire thing is worth your time. So click here take a gander. It's a complex situation that makes U.S.-Cuba relations even more complicated, even as politicians fight to do what they can to fix the policy.