Representative Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, has distributed a draft of his bill that would repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, passed in 1966, permits most Cubans who simply touch U.S. soil to enter the United States and become legal permanent residents a year and a day later. However, Bill Clinton changed that in an immigration agreement in 1995 with the Castro regime that ushered in the infamous wet foot - dry foot policy by executive order.
Carl McGill, Professor of Criminal Justice at University of Phoenix in 2000 compared "Clinton's policy to return 'rafters' to Cuba" was "like returning a slave in pre-Civil War America back to his enslaver. This would have condoned civil rights violations and slavery, as returning a 'rafter' to Cuba condones human rights violations and communism." The Dred Scott Decision is a historical abomination as is President Clinton's wet foot, dry foot policy that circumvented the intent of the Cuban Adjustment Act.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that "for over 30 years, fleeing Cubans had been welcomed to the United States; however, the U.S. government reversed this policy on August 19, 1994, when President Clinton announced that Cuban rafters interdicted at sea would no longer be brought to the United States."
Wet foot, dry foot" was a massive set back for Cuban refugees.
At the same time the 1995 agreement called on the Castro regime to register Cubans for a lottery and up to 20,000 "immigrants" would be eligible to enter the United States annually. This is a large part of what has led to South Florida being filled with regime oppressors and who knows how many spies.
Unfortunately, the reasons for the Cuban Adjustment Act remain unchanged. Cuba remains a totalitarian, communist regime that systematically denies Cubans their rights, including the right to enter and exit their own country. Cubans continue to be shot and killed for trying to leave the island and continue to be denied the right to return.
The December 17, 2014 announcement of normalized relations was also surrounded by repression, violence and death. Just a day earlier on December 16 the Cuban coastguard ram and sank a boat with 32 refugees.
|Diosbel Díaz Bioto and Yuriniesky Martínez Reina both killed trying to leave|
This sets Cuba apart from every other country in the Western Hemisphere. This is why the Cuban Adjustment Act is not "special treatment" but a recognition that the regime in Cuba is different than others in this hemisphere and requires a different policy.
For decades the radical left has, along with the Castro regime, denounced the Cuban Adjustment Act and continue to demand its repeal. The regime's argument is that the Cuban Adjustment Act is the reason for Cubans wanting to leave while at the same time denying the repressive, failed and criminal nature of the regime that drives Cubans to flee.
What is disturbing is that the pretext for repealing the Cuban Adjustment Act is now being echoed by some Republicans and conservatives who claim that some how because the Obama Administration has "normalized" relations with the Castro regime that things have changed. The reality is that the human rights situation has deteriorated and levels of violence escalated since President Obama announced the new Cuba policy.
It is also important in the midst of the current debate to remember that the Castro regime has a permanent campaign of demonizing two million Cubans in Miami regardless of ideological and philosophical differences, that are normal in a free society, and lump them all together under a destructive stereotype that has had an impact internationally.
Carlos Alberto Montaner concluded that "Cuba is one of those states that seeks to destroy the collective image of their emigrants and the particular image of those people that they have decided are their enemies." Fidel Castro has engaged in extreme acts to paint the Cuban diaspora in the worse possible light and his brother Raul Castro is most likely continuing the practice today.
This should not be an argument for repealing the Cuban Adjustment Act but for enforcing the laws already on the books. That this demonization, carried out by totalitarian networks and agents of influence, is also being used as an argument to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act reveals that it is part of an agenda.
With the current occupant in the White House wanting to grant the Castro dictatorship as many of its demands as possible combined with anti-immigrant sentiment in the country, a perfect storm is brewing that could lead to the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment Act. It is tragic that Cuban Americans be a contributing factor in stripping Cubans of one of the few protections that they have.
Ending the Cuban Adjustment Act will not end Cubans fleeing to the United States but will lead to greater acts of desperation to flee a worsening situation on the island, but with even more Cubans deported. Without the Cuban Adjustment Act, human trafficking will continue and sham marriages for Cubans to obtain citizenship will explode.
None of this will benefit either Cubans or U.S. national interests. However, it will achieve a long term policy goal of the Castro dictatorship and will be another step in the Obama administration's normalization of relations with the dictatorship in Cuba. Sadly, many who today are advocating the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment act will come to regret it, if it comes to pass.
It appears that many have forgotten that Cubans do not come to the United States pursuing the American dream but fleeing the Cuban nightmare.
It is for this reason that I say: Not in my name.
Version of this essay first published in The Canal.