Attorney General Griffin B. Bell cleared the way yesterday for a second special group of Cuban political prisoners to come to the United States with their families next week.
Bell said he has granted "parole" -- special immigration status -- to 70 former prisoners and 107 of their relatives authorized to leave Cuba by President Fidel Castro.
The first group of 46 prisoners and 25 family members, cleared by Castro as the opening move in a broad-scale prisoner-release program, flew to asylum in October after they were approved by the Department of Justice.
Castro subsequently announced his intention to free at least 3,000 -- about 80 percent -- of Cuba's political prisoners and to allow former prisoners to leave the country if they can find asylum abroad.
Cuban exile groups have pressured Bell to expedite review procedures to allow more prisoners into the United States, but the attorney general said yesterday that his case-by-case review will continue.
Although no reasons were given, the Justice Department noted that at least two applicants for entry under the special program had been rejected. The screening is intended to weed out would-be spies, terrorists, criminals and other undesirables.
But, Bell added, the screening process will be altered on Jan. 1 to give first priority to Cubans still imprisoned or released since Aug. 1.