Something has to be done about the long-term Cubans who live in the Cayman Islands without benefit of some sort of immigration status.
Most of these Cubans arrived in the Cayman Islands in the mid-1990s and have become integral parts of the fabric that makes up the Caymanian community.
Many of their children have never seen nor may ever see Cuba, which to them is not home.
The Cayman Islands is where they were reared and it is the people here they consider family and friends.
Should these Cubans without immigration status have taken care of the matter when first told to do so by government back then?
Yes, they should have.
But just because they didn’t doesn’t mean that we now deny them the right to live in the Cayman Islands.
The sticking point is the evolution of the country’s immigration law(s) throughout the years.
Under our current law, those Cubans without immigration status have been here too long and should either apply for, and receive, permanent residency or they should move along.
Frankly, that’s not right.
Many of these Cubans arrived in the Cayman Islands at the request of the government of the day with the expectation that they would eventually make permanent residency applications.
Unfortunately no one was given the job of ensuring these Cubans did get their papers in order.
So today we’re faced with refusals of permanent residency for some of these Cubans – again people who have helped build Cayman and contributed in a positive manner to our society.
Leader of Opposition McKeeva Bush has filed a private member’s motion on the issue Monday, which was debated.
There are several ways the immigration status of these Cuban natives can be handled.
An amendment could be made to the Immigration Law, an executive order could be issued, or time could be set aside to allow those in this situation to apply for some sort of legal status in the Cayman Islands.
The issue is on the table.
Now it’s time to find a way to make our Cuban friends legal.