Most Marielitos were not criminals. The vast majority were law-abiding people.
But a small number were convicted criminals whom Castro deported. Within a year, sixty-six Mariel refugees had been arrested for crimes in Miami.
About 2,700 Marielitos were refused permission to enter the United States, whether for old criminal records, current crimes, or other reasons. Most of these people languished in prison for years, pawns in the feud between Castro and the United States.
Marielito led prison riots in 1987 forced the United States to pay attention to the detained Cubans. Their cases were heard individually.
Some were allowed to stay in the United States, others sent back to Cuba.