After Fidel Castro’s revolution (1959-1960), anti-communist Cubans received preferential immigration conditions because they came from a historically close U.S. neighbor and ally. This law provided them permanent status and resources to help adjustment to life in the U.S. As described in the USCIS website, the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 (CAA) allowed Cuban natives or citizens living in the United States who had lived in the United States at least two years to apply to become lawful permanent residents by getting a Green Card. These conditions applied to successive waves of Cuban arrivals including about a million Cubans who were paroled into the United States between 1960 and 1961, the airlifting of about a quarter million Cubans fleeing communism under Castro between 1965 and 1973, and the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. The CAA served as the basis for reception of the Indochinese Immigration and Refugee Act of 1975 affecting refugees from Southeast Asia following the fall of Saigon.
To adjust the status of Cuban refugees to that of lawful permanent residents of the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That, notwithstanding the provisions of section 245(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the status of any alien who is a native or citizen of Cuba and who has been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States subsequent to January 1, 1959 and has been physically present in the United States for at least two years, may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien makes an application for such adjustment, and the alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa and is admissible to the United States for permanent residence. Upon approval of such an application for adjustment of status, the Attorney General shall create a record of the alien’s admission for permanent residence as of a date thirty months prior to the filing of such an application or the date of his last arrival into the United States, whichever date is later. The provisions of this Act shall be applicable to the spouse and child of any alien described in this subsection, regardless of their citizenship and place of birth, who are residing with such alien in the United States.
SEC. 2. In the case of any alien described in section 1 of this Act who, prior to the effective date thereof, has been lawfully admitted into the United States for permanent residence, the Attorney General shall, upon application, record his admission for permanent residence as of the date the alien originally arrived in the United States as a nonimmigrant or as a parolee, or a date thirty months prior to the date of enactment of this Act, whichever date is later.
SEC. 3. Section 13 of the Act entitled “An Act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act, and for other purposes”, approved October 3, 1965 (Public Law 89-236), is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection: “(c) Nothing contained in subsection (b) of this section shall be construed to affect the validity of any application for adjustment under section 245 filed with the Attorney General prior to December 1, 1965, which would have been valid on that date; but as to all such applications the statutes or parts of statutes repealed or amended by this Act are, unless otherwise specifically provided therein, continued in force and effect.”
SEC. 4, Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act, the definitions contained in section 101 (a) and (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act shall apply in the administration of this Act. Nothing contained in this Act shall be held to repeal, amend, alter, modify, affect, or restrict the powers, duties, functions, or authority of the Attorney General in the administration and enforcement of the Immigration and Nationality Act or any other law relating to immigration, nationality, or naturalization.
Approved November 2, 1966.