Isn’t it interesting that President Obama would rush to normalize Cuban relations without normalizing relations with Cuban immigrants? Isn’t it interesting that this part of our diplomatic policy would remain unchanged? The part that sets only one requirement on Cuban immigrants: Make it to U.S. soil. Yes, very curious how Obama has made no effort to change that. Very curious, indeed.
Even Havana has noticed. On Sunday, the Cuban government issued a statement blaming the U.S. for what has amounted to a mass exodus of its citizens. Upon accepting 14 of their countrymen back from Columbia – where they were deported – the government said they were “victims of the politicization of the migration issue by the U.S. government which stimulates illegal and unsafe immigration.”
Such stimulation occurs due to the Cuban Adjustment Act, a 1960s law that treats Cuban immigrants differently than people from anywhere else in the world. These immigrants are automatically assigned refugee status, and they are eligible for public benefits immediately upon arriving in our country. As such, many Cubans – if not all – come here not to escape political persecution but to seek economic opportunity. You can’t blame them for that, but it’s costing the American taxpayer a fortune.
According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, more than 46,500 Cubans came to the United States in the first 10 months of fiscal 2016. This is up from 43,000 last year and way up from the 24,000 of 2014. This is a trend that is being utterly ignored by the Obama administration.
Making matters worse, many of these “immigrants” are nothing of the kind. They come here, qualify for their automatic legal status, apply for welfare benefits, and then head back for Cuba. They have friends and family members send their checks along. They go back to live in leisure, or they use the seed money granted them by our immigration system to set up a small business on the island. This is what we’re funding. It’s a complete sham and a complete waste of money.
Obama’s not doing anything about the surge, but that’s only part of the whole picture. The truth is that he’s responsible for the surge. By moving towards normalized relations, many Cubans fear that America’s special immigration exemptions will come to an end. They want to get here while the getting’s good. When you realize that, you wonder if that’s not exactly what Obama wanted to accomplish all along.