It’s been a very political week in Florida, and there is still one more day to go.

This week is the qualifying deadline for every political office up in this year’s August primaries and November General Election. What makes this qualifying week more interesting than others is that, this year, districts have changed due to the U.S. Census, causing many incumbents to have to run against one another.

Down in South Florida, the focus has been on Washington, due to a proposal from U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., that seeks to amend the Cuban Adjustment Act. Enacted in 1966, the law grants Cuban exiles immediate asylum status in the United States without having to prove that they are being politically persecuted. Essentially, once Cubans arrive onto U.S. soil, they can claim political asylum and, within one year, are usually granted permanent resident status.

Getting permanent resident status then allows them to travel abroad, including back to Cuba. This system been abused in recent years by some Cubans who claim political asylum, stay the required year, and then immediately go back repeatedly to visit the country they claim was “persecuting” them. Rivera’s proposal, H.R. 2831 amends the law so that it would terminate their political asylum status if they return to Cuba, the claimed country of persecution.

Opponents of changing the law argue that it separates families. Proponents argue that it will differentiate those who are legitimately fleeing oppression against those who are taking advantage of U.S. law.  Regardless, it is a hot button issue here in Florida, where Cuban policy is always a top issue.

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