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Nearly 30K convicted Cubans may face deportation

Posted at 3:41 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 19:21:45-04

As Washington normalizes relations with Havana, nearly 30,000 Cuban nationals convicted of crimes in the U.S. may face deportation.

The Miami Herald reports that 28,400 Cuban nationals have served their prison terms and face automatic deportations. Some 18,000 live in Florida. For decades, they've been released under supervision by immigration authorities because the U.S. had no diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Authorities say there's no imminent change planned for immigration policy toward Cuba. Republican Miami Congressman Carlos Curbelo says dangerous criminals should be deported at the earliest date possible, while those convicted of minor offenses should be given the opportunity to stay.

Miami defense attorney Jose "Pepe" Herrera says many Cuban inmates didn't anticipate any U.S. change toward Cuba when they signed waivers agreeing to deportations to avoid immigration detention proceedings.