I saw a couple of old articles that reported how the US opened in the past to immigration by Cuban doctors, which sometimes was seen as encouraging them to defect.

I would like to know what is the result of those policies. Is it known how many of them are now working in the US healthcare system?

  • Likely difficult. because Cuban doctors in the U.S. could include doctors who came over through that program as well as children of Cuban immigrants that came into the U.S. through other means who became doctors.
    – hszmv
    May 10 at 12:45
  • @hszmv Children of migrants to the US are likely to be US nationals. Children of migrants to other countries are not so likely to become doctors because tuition will be far more expensive. May 10 at 12:49
  • Scholarships, student loans, and financial aid programs exist to help students with economic disadvantages gain a degree. Student Loans aren't typically a problem for students who get degrees that allow for High Demand STEM jobs. It also ignores the fact that Cuban immigrants since Castro came to power are not considered illegal immigrants, which dramatically increases their ability to find work in the U.S. that can afford to send children to colleges.
    – hszmv
    May 10 at 12:57
  • @hszmv Yes, but to become a doctor it takes a lot of time. University, plus specialization, plus training. Add one or two years of work and how likely are they to become naturalized US citizens? May 10 at 13:08
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    @RickSmith: given the date of the announcement (last days of Obama's presidency), I'd be curious to know if Trump let that stand. Apparently Trump changed many policies on Cuba, but not that one latimes.com/politics/story/2019-07-30/…
    – Fizz
    May 12 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


Q: I would like to know what is the result of those policies. Is it known how many of them are now working in the US healthcare system?

The policy was put into place in 2006 by President G. W. Bush and was ended in 2017 by President Obama. The policy was not just for doctors, but included, broadly, medical personnel. There appears to be no breakdown of doctors versus other personnel.

Due to the difficulty of qualifying for a medical license in the U.S., some medical professionals admitted under the program don't actually work in their specialty, if at all, as a doctor.

How many Cuban doctors are working in the US?, under the policy, is indeterminable, but is likely less than 3500 due to the inclusion of other medical personnel in the totals and the 50 percent rate of placement in residencies.

Cuban Medical Professional Parole program

In August 2006 the United States under George W. Bush created the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program, specifically targeting Cuban medical personnel and encouraging them to defect while working outside Cuba. From an estimated 40,000 eligible medical personnel, over 1000 had entered the United States under the program by October 2007, according to the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart. By 2017, more than 7000 had entered the program. [...]] On 12 January 2017, President Obama announced the end of the program, [...].

Many Cuban doctors find sanctuary in the U.S., far fewer ever practice again, March 24, 2016

Statistics show how difficult it can be for many foreign medical graduates to meet the U.S. requirements to practice medicine. About 94 percent of U.S. medical school grads were placed in residencies in 2015. But the total percentage of graduates of overseas medical schools placed in U.S. residencies hovers just around 50 percent.

  • I upvoted, but this is what's attributable to that specific program. It's not too clear if that's all the OP is asking about, though.
    – Fizz
    May 12 at 11:27
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    @Fizz - The linked articles in the Q are dated August 2006 (the beginning of the CMPP) and 2007. And, the CMPP was a new policy. However, the broad Q in the title would potentially require distinguishing between "Cuban doctors" who maintained refugee status versus "Cuban-American doctors" who naturalized. I decided to go with the CMPP as the closest match for which there are possible answers.
    – Rick Smith
    May 12 at 11:40
  • @Fizz The title may give the question a broad scope. Probably that program is not the only way for Cubans to get a visa and work in the US healthcare system, but that is something that can provide some numbers. May 12 at 16:21

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