Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ending the Cuban Adjustment Act

It's interesting to see how both opposition to the Cuban Adjustment Act is now transcending ideology. Arguments range from "Cubans are abusing the system" to "It gives the Castro regime a safety valve" to "Central Americans actually face far more political persecution" to "we need to treat all immigrants the same."

The big question is how you deal with it. President Obama gets criticized for saying he has no plans to repeal it. But this is tricky. If Obama were to say anything that suggested repeal was on the table, we'd see a massive flood of Cubans trying to get in before it ended. So it is a bad idea for him to start talking about it.

There is no great solution, but I've argued that the Band Aid should be pulled off quickly because remaining in a holding pattern of anticipation will simply lead to more people making dangerous journeys. It would not surprise me at all if that will happen. The likely way it would work is similar to how the negotiations that led to December 2014 went. There would be secret negotiations between the two countries, with a public face of remaining committed to the law. That negotiation would obviously have to include what would replace it.

Even that is imperfect because Congress has to get involved. Somehow Obama would need to get key Republicans on board. Given their public criticism of normalization, that will be difficult. But as I mentioned, there are a lot of conservatives unhappy with the immigration status quo. Best case scenario involves lengthy debate, during which the number of migrants will go up.

What we need is an overall immigration policy that treats people humanely, while establishing clear procedures for people who are clearly fleeing persecution. Unfortunately that might be too much to ask for.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP