Vermont Law Student and Cuban Wife Sue Over Travel Restrictions
Posted Jun 3, 2008 9:22 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A student at Vermont Law School and his Cuban wife have sued the U.S. government over restrictions that bar Cuban Americans from traveling home more than once every three years.
Jared Carter argued the case last week in a federal courtroom in Burlington, the Burlington Free Press reports. He told the court the restrictions violate a fundamental constitutional right to associate with family.
U.S. District Judge William Sessions III asked the litigants for more information about why the government has different policies on emergency travel exemptions based on citizenship. U.S. citizens can get an emergency exemption to visit immediate family members in Cuba who are also U.S. citizens, but they cannot get an exemption to visit Cuban relatives there.
Carter married Yurisleidis Levya Mora after he met her on a Cuban beach during a visit to research national parks in the country for a nonprofit group, the Boston Globe reports. They had a whirlwind courtship, and Leyva Mora came here in 2006, with plans to get married and then to return to Cuba to visit her family.
She was unaware that she cannot return home for a visit until 2009 under the travel restrictions adopted in 2004. They allow Cuban Americans to return home just once every three years, and limit visits to immediate family members.
Carter is entering his third year at Vermont Law School. Seven Days also has a story and a photo of the couple. The Boston Globe has a video.