Thursday, March 21, 2019

Should We Revive Wet Foot/Dry Foot?

David Bier at the Cato Institute argues that President Obama should not have ended the "wet foot/dry foot" immigration policy with Cuba. Here is the argument:

Whatever the case, ending wet foot, dry foot has exacerbated America’s immigration problems. Yes, the flow of Cubans is lower now, but under the old policy officials could simply parole the arrivals into the country without spending an enormous amount of resources on interviews, transportation, detention, and courts. Forcing Cubans to undergo the formal asylum process has only further burdened the system.
And here is the policy prescription that flows from it:
The administration should restore the wet foot, dry foot policy, which worked for this country for decades. The ultimate result was that more than a million Cubans freed themselves from a communist regime under the policy. 
And, he adds, we should include Venezuelans.

My own long-standing position has been that Latin Americans elsewhere face much worse repression than many of the fleeing Cubans--that's why we have a Central American immigration crisis. So it is unfair to treat them differently. I think we should treat all victims of repression the same--so either allow all of them in or spend the necessary money to reduce the asylum backlog.


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