WASHINGTON, USA -- Last week's announcement that the United States is re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba should also trigger a repeal of outdated immigration policies that afford special immigration privileges to Cuban nationals, says the country's largest immigration reform group.
For more than half a century, the US has maintained policies that treat Cuban migrants differently from citizens of every other nation on earth.
"With the reestablishment of full diplomatic relations with Cuba, our outdated Cold War immigration policies with that nation must end," declared Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Specifically, the thaw in relations with Cuba must result in President Barack Obama pushing for the repeal of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, the end of the wet foot/dry foot policy, elimination of the minimum annual allocation of the 20,000 immigration visas for Cubans, termination of the 2007 Cuban Family Reunification Program, and a commitment by Cuba to accept repatriation of criminal aliens who are deported from the United States.
"If we are treating Cuba like virtually every other nation on earth in terms of trade, cultural exchanges and diplomacy, then we should also treat Cuban citizens like everyone else when it comes to immigration to the United States," said Stein.
Under the Cuban Adjustment Act and the wet foot/dry foot policy, Cuban nationals who set foot on American soil, regardless of how they got here, are permitted to remain and adjust their status to permanent legal immigrants after one year. In addition, under a policy established by President Bill Clinton in 1994, Cuba is the only country in the world guaranteed a minimum number of immigration visas to the US each year. Cuba is also among a handful of rogue nations that refuses to allow repatriation of their own citizens who have been convicted of crimes in the United States.
"The special immigration policies we have had for Cubans have never made sense, nor have they achieved any beneficial effect for Cuba or the US. For decades, these policies have been driven by domestic political considerations. Now they are completely without justification.
"Moving forward, Cubans who arrive here illegally or overstay visas should be subject to removal; Cuban nationals who wish to immigrate to the US should apply under the same set of rules that apply to everyone else; and we must expect that the government of Cuba will act in good faith when it comes to accepting the return of criminal aliens. Normalization means normalization," concluded Stein.