The Cuban Adjustment Act Analytical Essay by Lucia

Looks at the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) and its 1995 revision known as the wet-foot dry-foot policy from a social work perspective.
# 150530 | 1,780 words | 18 sources | APA | 2011 | US

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This paper explains that the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) grants Cuban asylum seekers permanent residency after one year of living in the United States; however, the 1995 revision, known as the wet-foot dry-foot policy, restricts this policy only to those who actually reach the US shore thereby returning those intercepted at sea. Next, the author reviews the history of Cuban-United States relations and identifies the various waves of Cuban immigrants starting in the early 1960s and continuing to the 1994 wave known as the Balsero Crisis. The paper points out several social welfare problems presented in the CAA and wet-foot dry-foot policy and underscores, from a social work perspective, the social injustice of this act thus discovering that its agenda is not humanitarian but rather anti-communism.

Table of Contents:
History of Cuban-United States Relations and Cuban Immigration
Social Welfare Problem
Benefits, Limitations, and Unintended Consequences of the CAA
A Social Work Perspective

From the Paper:

"The dismal economic situation in Cuba led to another immigrant wave in the summer of 1994. This wave is also known as the Balsero Crisis, in which 30,000 Cubans came to the United States on boats. Such a large influx triggered the United States government to once and for all restrict Cuban migration to the States. A modification of the CAA was enacted in May 2, 1995 by the Clinton Administration that granted legal entry in the United States only to the refugees who reached land. Or in other words, Cubans who were found at sea were returned to the communist island. This modification is also known as the wet-foot dry-foot policy. Further restrictions were also applied some including: 1) a limitation to the remittances sent to Cuba, 2) limit of the annual number of visas given to Cuban nationals, 3) placed several strict travel regulations to Cuba 4) placed a maximum of 20, 000 visas granted to Cuban nationals.
"Since then, Obama has lifted some restrictions on Cuba, allowing Cubans to visit family members and send more money back home. However, as underlined in the Helms Burton Act of 1996, the embargo will not be lifted until Cuba begins to become democratic."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Banet-Weiser, S. (2003). Elian Gonzalez and "The Purpose of America": Nation, Family, and the Child-Citizen. American Quarterly. 55(2), 149-178.
  • Brannon, Rob. (2002). A wet and dry argument: Student groups say United States' policies towards immigration are inconsistent. The Oracle. Retrieved from
  • Copeland, R. (1983). The Cuban Boatlift of 1980: Strategies in Federal Crisis Management. Anals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 467, 138-150.
  • DePalma, Anthony. (16 July, 1991). For Haitians, Voyage to a Land of Inequality. New York Times. Retrieved from
  • Eckstein S., Barberia L.. (2002). Grounding Immigrant Generations in History: Cuban Americans and Their Transnational ties. International Migration Review. 36 (3), 799-837

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Cuban Adjustment Act (2012, March 02) Retrieved May 27, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Cuban Adjustment Act" 02 March 2012. Web. 27 May. 2023. <>