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10 Milestones in the Immigration of Latin Americans

How the US Hispanic population grew so large

Mariel boatlift in 1980

Cuban refugees wait in the port of Mariel, Cuba, on April 23, 1980, to board a ship bound for Key West, Fla. — Jacques Langevin/AP

1980

About 125,000 people leave Cuba from the Mariel harbor and head to Florida, set off by the deteriorating Cuban economy and discontent with the Castro regime.

This mass exodus from Cuba to the United States begins on April 5, when 10,000 Cubans enter the Peruvian Embassy in Havana, demanding political asylum, with the purpose of obtaining authorization to leave the country. The Cuban government ultimately allows many of them, and others, to leave the country.

Next: The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act >>

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