I’m not sure about the midi controller, but if it’s USB then it must be plugged in first otherwise there’s no driver present and Cubase doesn’t have a rescan button (we’ve been asking for ages for one!).
Automation: I’m able to cut and paste… select the automation points, Ctrl-C, select a new automation lane, Ctrl-P. I think I usually press the L button to move the play cursor to the beginning of the automation point selection before pressing Ctrl-V, then it places it in the same location. Otherwise if I’m duping automation for choruses then I have to line it up some other way. Seems to work for me.