Julie Davis and Frances Robles recently covered an article entitled, Obama Ends Exemption for Cubans Who Arrive Without Visas. The article focuses on how Obama is no longer allowing Cubans to come into America undocumented, meaning that they will be deported back to the Cuban government. The two authors state that this is one of the last actions taken by Obama to end America’s period of isolation regarding Cuba.
So wait! How exactly is disallowing individuals from coming between America and Cuba an act of appeasement?
Well one needs to understand the nature of the 22 year law that Obama is officially terminating.
The law is clearly known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy and it dates back to 1995. The very purpose of the law was to weaken the reign of Fidel Castro given that allowing Cubans to have safety within America once they reached American grounds would help to create mass mobilizations of Cubans from out of Cuba. The historic purpose of this law no longer serves the purpose of the Obama administration who wants to reconnect Cuba with America. This is clearly evident by his visit to Cuba in May of 2016. It was the first time that a US sitting president visited the communist ruled island since 1928.
Davis and Robles mention how the policy being taken down could also be a result of the fact that most Cubans currently leaving Cuba for the US are economic refugees. According to the Center for Immigration Studies this is in fact quite true. It is clear that “Cubans coming to the United States now are less likely to be genuine asylum seekers and more likely to be economic migrants.” Given that the Obama administration does not seem to want Cubans leaving their own country due to economic welfare, it is clear that Obama wants to create a new generation of individuals within Cuba who will solve the problems that their country is facing economically.
This is already starting to happen. Over the past few years, the Cuban government has started to implement more free-market initiatives. Cuba has recently mapped out a clear list of permissible small time business where individuals are allowed to hire employees. Islanders are even allowed to play with the market of credit.
It can be safely assumed that Obama’s policies of compelling Cubans to stay within their country and change the country themselves is working more than it is not. The question is however, what will happen when Trump takes office. President Elect Donald Trump has shown a deep desire to get more control on immigration into the United States. Politically it will be very hard for him to reverse Obama’s executive action.