Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 6, 2008):
The Freedom Tower is considered the "Ellis Island of the South" for its role during a twelve year period between 1962 and 1974, as the Cuban Assistance Center, offering nationally sanctioned relief to the Cuban refugees who sought political asylum from the Communist regime of Fidel Castro. Due to the political climate of the time and the Cold War, Cubans were readily welcomed into the United States and extended an unprecedented amount of assistance belying the immigration policy that had dictated the flow of immigration into the country until that point. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 was enacted by the Kennedy Administration to offer assistance to the large number of Cubans fleeing to Miami seeking political asylum. The Freedom Tower stands as the single most identifiable building with the Cuban exile experience. The building stands as a physical manifestation of Cold War era politics, and the influence it exerted over national immigration policies developed to assist the steady stream of Cubans arriving in the United States during the period.