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The Nation : 671 Cuban Refugees Welcomed in Miami

Nearly 700 Cubans arrived at Miami International Airport after months or years of exile in Panama and Costa Rica, laughing and crying with joy as they were reunited with family members living in Florida. Two planes from Costa Rica and one from Panama brought in 671 exiles in an operation organized by the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation, the first private group in the United States to sponsor refugees under a recently approved federal program. The new program allows up to 4,000 refugees to come to the United States to live if they obtain private sponsors and proof that they have support and medical coverage for two years. The foundation eventually hopes to bring in 1,500 Cubans from third countries, where they had gone in hopes of eventually making it to the United States. Volunteers arranged for relatives to meet the refugees and assembled welcome bags of food donated by grocers.


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