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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration > What We Are Saying > Fact Sheets and Newsletters > 2001
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
March 1, 2001

Latin America/Caribbean Admissions Program


Since 1975, approximately 80,000 refugees from Latin American and Caribbean countries have been offered resettlement in the U.S. Over half have been from Cuba, with other significant representation from Haiti, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

Cuban Program

At present, virtually all refugee processing in the region is based in Cuba. As of September 9, 1994, all refugee admissions of Cubans are considered a part of the U.S.-Cuba Bilateral Migration Agreement. The Agreement provides for the approval of at least 20,000 Cubans for legal admission to the U.S. annually, in a combination of immigrants, parolees and refugees. The majority of Cubans admitted as refugees have been political prisoners or forced labor conscripts, most of whom served sentences in the 1960ís and 1970ís. The program was expanded in 1991 to include human rights activists, displaced professionals, and others. In addition to individuals processed in-country, Cubans outside Cuba may be considered for resettlement under Priority One if referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or an American Embassy.

Cubans eligible to apply for admission to the U.S. through the in-country refugee program under Priority Two include:

  • Former political prisoners
  • Members of persecuted religious minorities
  • Human rights activists
  • Forced labor conscripts during the period 1965-1968
  • Persons deprived of their professional credentials or subjected to other disproportionately harsh or discriminatory treatment resulting from their perceived or actual political or religious beliefs
  • Others who appear to have a credible claim that they will face persecution as defined in the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

FY 2001 Admissions Program

The FY 2001 ceiling for refugee admissions from Latin America and the Caribbean is 3,000. In FY 2000, 3,233 Cubans arrived in the U.S. through the refugee program.


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