Comparing and Contrasting Cubans and Haitians in Miami

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The migration of the Cubans and the Haitians to the United States of America happened under almost similar circumstances in their home countries, although the reception in the United States of America was different to each group. The Haitians were treated harsher than the Cubans although an act of America required same treatment for all the immigrants. The response from America confirmed this difference in their procedures by saying that the immigrants who were fleeing the communist countries had to be treated better than the other immigrants. This paper will try to compare and contrast the immigrants in Miami both from the Cuba country and from Haiti because it is in this area where the immigrants majorly settled.

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The Differences between the Cubans and Haitians in Miami

The Haitian immigration can be dated back to the year 1802 when slave trade revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture seeking for independence and trying to end the slave trade happened. Though it was successful, the Haiti government was not stable and went on crumbling in all aspect even economical. For example, between the 1800s and 1934, there was a change in government twenty-two times which is a proof of this fact. Haitians first wave immigrants to the United States of America happened in 1957, but the early immigrants by boat landed on the coast of America in 1963. They were not accepted and were deported back to their country. Not until 1977 did the Haitian immigrants entirely started settling in the United States of America. In contrast, the Cubans who migrated from their homeland when Fidel Castro overthrew the government of Bastia in the 1950s started settling in Miami in the early 1960s and were considered as the major contributors to the development of Miami. From the immigration, we can see the difference in treatment between the Haitians who were deported back and the Cubans who have been accepted to settle in America at almost the same times (LiPuma, and Thomas, 370). The treatment shows that the Cubans were preferred to the Haitians. An immigrant act that was signed between the United States of America and the Cuba in 1966 provided for a long-standing and preferential treatment to the Cuban immigrants. The act that was approved gave a guarantee to the Cubans living in the United States of America for a least one year to adjust to a permanent residence. In other words, they ceased being refugees but became American citizens (Kyle, David, and Marc, 305). Following the amendment of the act in 1966, there arose the ‘wet foot and dry foot’ practice which required the American guard to halt and send back any Cuban who was found in the sea, unless they feared for persecution. It went on to state that the any Cuban who successfully reached the shore of the united states of America could not be sent back, but were to be investigated but the department of the home country and then allowed to settle in the USA. More so, if a Cuban could try to enter the United States by land, mostly through Mexico, the intruder was to be investigated by the customs and boarders protection personnel. The intruder could then be exempted from deportation back to the home country. Contrary to this treatment that the Cubans receive in the United States of America, the Haitians don’t benefit from it. If a Haitian is found in the chores and does not provide enough evidence and proof for the asylum, the Haitian is immediately deported to his home country or detained (Kyle, David, and Marc, 305). In 1994 during the Clinton administration, the number of Cubans migrating to the United States was so large that the Clinton administration decided to lay a policy limiting the expenditure the government was incurring in the immigrants. But later alone, the USA government struck a deal that allowed at least twenty thousand immigrants from Cuba to the United States every year. On average, the number of the Cubans who qualify for visas to the United States of America every year exceeds the number of Haitians currently receding in the United States (Stepick, Alex, and Carol, 3). Contrary to the entry of the Cubans to the USA who were given a much warmer welcome, the Haitians are never warmly welcomed, and only the skilled Haitians are allowed entry to the United States. The middle-class Haitians who happen to have entry to the United States are always discriminated (Borjas and George, 73) For example, when it was perceived that the Haitians had caused the outbreak of diseases in the USA. Unlike the Cubans who had an agreement with the USA to allow the immigrants reside there, the policy which was established between the USA and the Haitian government under the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier only provided a way the Haitian intruder migrants could be deported back to Haiti from the USA (Portes, Alejandro, Patricia and willam, 37).

Similarities between the Haitians and Cubans in Miami

It is factual that the both the Cubans and the Haitians in Miami have a vulnerable population, having come from countries experiencing political intolerance and instability. Both the two groups are under the department of homeland security which helps to fund even programmes directed towards their better stay in the United States of America and also help them to adapt to the new USA life. Moreover, both the Cubans and the Haitians constitute two groups with a fast growing population in the United States. Both the two groups also represent the groups in the USA who are struggling for scarce resources including space and permission to be in the United States of America (Borjas and George, 67). Both the two communities of immigrants have been discriminated against in the USA, although the Cubans are the outstanding majority among many communities that live in Miami, has a population close to two million occupants. The problem between the two immigrants, i.e., Cubans and Haitians are that they still have a terrible relationship. Instead of using their collective interests as people who the white Americans discriminate against and unite to have one voice, they even don’t like each other. Both the two groups form the workforce in Miami. They are tasked with picking vegetables during the winter. It is therefore hard for this immigrant to get the collar jobs and thus live the lives of the low class (Portes, Alejandro, Patricia and willam, 35).


From all the analysis above, it is clear that the Haitians have always been looked down upon in the United States. The Cubans have always been given an upper hand regarding the privileges of both immigration and stay. The policies that have been developed between the Americans and the Haitians have been those who hinder them instead of giving them a breakthrough regarding their residence in America. It is clear then as both communities have always been discriminated, they should set aside their differences and unite so that they can be able to have one voice while they still stay in Miami.

Work cited

Borjas, George J. Heaven’s door: Immigration policy and the American economy. Princeton University Press, 2011. Kyle, David, and Marc Scarcelli. “Migrant smuggling and the violence question: evolving illicit migration markets for Cuban and Haitian refugees.” Crime, law and social change 52.3 (2009): 297-311. LiPuma, Edward, and Thomas Koelble. “Cultures of circulation and the urban imaginary: Miami As example and exemplar.” The Urban Sociology Reader (2012): 370. Portes, Alejandro, Patricia Fern??ndez-Kelly, and William Haller. “The adaptation of the Immigrant second generation in America: A theoretical overview and recent Evidence.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35.7 (2009): 1077-1104. Stepick, Alex, and Carol Dutton Stepick. “Diverse contexts of reception and feelings of Belonging.” Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research. Vol. 10. No. 3. 2009.

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Comparing and Contrasting Cubans and Haitians in Miami. (2018, Dec 17). Retrieved December 6, 2022 , from

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