Monday, December 21, 2015

Ending the Cuban Adjustment Act

The New York Times has an editorial calling for the end of the Cuban Adjustment Act.

This system has been a boon for human smugglers in Latin America and created burdens for countries from Ecuador to Mexico through which they move. It has also been used by Cuba as a pretext to impose strict controls on its people and prevented the American government from conducting the type of thorough security vetting that all other immigrants receive.

I was once asked by a reporter whether I thought ISIS could exploint Cuban
immigrants, and my answer was no. I don't see the security issue as critical, though from a strategic perspecitve it clearly could be used very effectively to gain some votes.

More importantly, the current environment creates a strong incentive for Cubans to come now, anticipating the policy will end. The human smuggling and dangerous crossings will continue. The Band-Aid should just be pulled off quickly, and Cubans treated like other migrants.

I've made this argument for years, and so far the Obama administration isn't listening. The State Department just released this statement:

One topic of particular interest this past year was immigration. U.S. policy, which has not changed, emphasizes the safe, legal, and orderly migration of Cubans to the United States. Both the U.S. and Cuban governments are concerned by the efforts of human traffickers to exploit the fears of some Cubans and to encourage a mass exodus to the United States. We are in regular discussions with Havana about how to prevent smuggling organizations from achieving their illicit aims.

Riiiiiiiiighhhhttt. Our "wet foot, dry foot" policy is the opposite of safe, legal, and orderly. It's a big fat mess and was made on the run 20 years ago. Of course, it's important for the administration to say it's a great policy right up until the moment that it gets changed. I get that.

So we're stuck for the moment, and that isn't good for anyone.


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