Cuban criminals are exploiting America’s generosity and must be brought to justice, a South Florida congressman told the new U.S. attorney general.
In a letter to Loretta Lynch, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch said a U.S. law meant to help Cubans fleeing communism is instead being used by crooks “to evade arrest, avoid prosecution and deliver money stolen from American businesses and taxpayers back to Cuba.”
He cited a January Sun Sentinel investigation that found criminals taking advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act to come to the U.S. and steal more than $2 billion over two decades.
The 1966 act gives Cubans extraordinary benefits unavailable to other immigrant groups: even Cubans arriving without permission can stay and become legal residents in just a year.
That makes it easier for the organized rings to rob Medicare, cheat credit card companies, and rip off auto insurers in schemes that can yield large sums with little risk of significant jail time, the newspaper found. Thieves and illicit money flow between Florida and its communist neighbor, aided by a law enacted as a gesture of good will a half century ago.
The law was adopted to help Cubans escape the Castro government, not “create a pipeline for sophisticated financial fraud,” Deutch wrote. “Yet crime rings in South Florida are using our humanitarian policy to successfully send cash and criminals back to the island without fear that the Cuban regime will extradite these fugitives.”
He urged the Justice Department to consider the issue in its negotiations with Cuba on reestablishing diplomatic relations. “Given the extent of the criminal activity described by the Sun Sentinel, I hope you agree that the issue of fugitives must be addressed during talks underway between the United States and Cuba.”
Deutch asked Lynch to update him “on this critical issue.” She took office in April, replacing Eric Holder, who resigned.
Diplomats from the U.S. and Cuba are scheduled to meet Thursday in Washington to continue discussions on establishing formal embassies in the two countries and creating greater avenues for cooperation. This historic move to restore diplomatic relations was announced by President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro five months ago.
Feature continues here: Cuban Criminals