The Corner

Not Your Father’s Cuba

A colleague at the Center for Immigration Studies considers the implications for the United States of Cuba’s new relaxed travel rules, ending the requirement for exit visas for most Cubans seeking to go abroad.

Assuming this isn’t pure baloney, it’s going to mean a lot more Cubans going to Mexico (or Canada) and sneaking into the U.S. That’s because we continue to have a special immigration policy just for Cuba, the Cuban Adjustment Act, that gives automatic legal status to any illegal immigrant from that sorry island. This was appropriate as a Cold War measure, when Cuba was an outpost of the Soviet empire and our goal was to destabilize the regime. And, while it made more sense than exploding cigars, the fact remains the Cold War is over. Like the embargo, the Cuban Adjustment Act has long outlived its usefulness.

Conservatives in particular need to accept that Cuba is now just another loser Third World dictatorship, ruled by parasite-gangsters who ought to be hanging from lampposts, but who do not pose a strategic threat to the security of our republic. Yes, unlike Zimbabwe or Turkmenistan, Laos or Mauritania, Cuba is next door and we have a definite interest in what happens there. But at this point our interest is in a soft landing, if that’s possible, rather than uncontrolled flows of people and a collapse of internal order. As bitter a pill as it may be for us to swallow, we need to downgrade Cuba in our foreign-affairs considerations from its special status as a villain. End the embargo, apply normal immigration rules to Cubans, and keep a close eye on how events there unfold as the Castro brothers die and a military junta takes power, as is likely. It’s natural to want to avenge those killed and imprisoned by the communists, but foreign policy is a dish best served cold.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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