Murphy, Diaz-Balart Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reunite Cuban Americans with their Families
Legislation would allow U.S. government to use naval station in Cuba to conduct interviews and background checks of potential beneficiaries
WASHINGTON— U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., today introduced legislation to reunite Cuban Americans with their families in Cuba. Currently, the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program allows American citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for their family members in Cuba to come to the United States, to work legally, and to apply for lawful permanent resident status. However, as a result of the sonic attacks on U.S. personnel in Havana, the program has been indefinitely paused in Cuba and new applicants are forced to travel to the U.S. Embassy in Guyana for screening. The bipartisan bill, the Cuban Family Reunification Modernization Act, would enshrine this program in federal law and temporarily authorize the U.S. government to use the U.S. naval station in Cuba to conduct interviews and background checks of potential beneficiaries, until there is an acceptable alternative location on the island.
The Murphy/Diaz-Balart bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Carlos A. Gimenez, R-Fla., and María Elvira Salazar, R-Fla.
“My parents and I escaped a brutal communist regime, and this country welcomed us together as a family. I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Diaz-Balart to allow the federal government to use our naval base on the island to conduct interviews and background checks, helping Cuban Americans swiftly and lawfully reunite with their family members from Cuba,” said Murphy.
“Since the lapse of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program in 2017, thousands of innocent Cuban families have suffered the burden caused by the Cuban regime’s malfeasance and failure to protect American personnel in Cuba. For nearly four years, I have been working diligently to find a feasible solution that allows Cuban families to be reunited, while also upholding the safety of our brave public servants stationed abroad.
“Today, I am introducing a bill that I know will obtain bipartisan support and potentially be signed into law. The Cuban Family Reunification Modernization Act of 2021, codifies the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program to allow Cuban nationals to apply from within Cuba, upholds and promotes the safety of American personnel, and prohibits human rights abusers from benefiting from the parole program. In contrast to the chaos at the border, codifying this program will ensure an orderly, secure, and safe way for Cubans to have their applications processed on the island.
“I thank my dear friend and co-lead of this bill, Rep. Stephanie Murphy– whose advice and thoughtful contributions were extremely insightful in producing the final product. I also want to thank Representatives Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar for their leadership and steadfast support. I am committed to working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to further this important legislation so that Cubans families can be reunited, and our brave public servants can continue to carry out their duties in a safe environment,” said Diaz-Balart.
“The Cuban people are suffering under the chokehold of socialism, families remain separated by the brutal Castro regime, and the situation is more dire than it has even been after the sonic attacks in Havana essentially shut down U.S consular services on the island,” said Salazar. “I’m proud to join my colleague Mario Diaz-Balart to introduce the bipartisan Cuban Family Reunification Modernization Act, which addresses this situation by allowing the U.S. to conduct consular services from the safety of Guantanamo Bay and ensuring the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) program can continue to reunite Cuban-American families.”
“It’s time for the federal government to find a proper avenue for the reunification of Cuban families,” said Gimenez. “By restarting this mechanism, the United States continues to send a strong signal of support to the Cuban community and all those who seek refuge from the reprehensible conditions created by the communist Castro regime. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this effort and thank my friend Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart for taking lead. It is my hope, as it is of all my colleagues here, that one day we will see a free and democratic Cuba.”
For more info on the bill, click here. For the full text of the bill, click here.