Only 330 miles separate Cuba from the southern tip of Florida—roughly the distance from Plainview, Texas, to Dodge City, Kansas. Yet only 359 Cubans made the treacherous trip in 2013, reports Texas Standard. That doesn’t mean they’ve stopped coming, though. Many Cuban refugees make the safer journey to Ecuador, where there are no visa requirements. Then their journey takes them up through Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and finally the United States. In 2013, 40,000 Cuban immigrants entered the US through Mexico.
Loosening of tensions with the island country by the US has caused many refugees to worry that they will soon lose special status as refugees. Cubans are the only illegal immigrants currently given social security numbers with no questions asked.
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