Maria Cristina Garcia, an expert on immigration reform and professor of history at Cornell University, says Obama’s decision to end the longstanding “wet foot, dry foot” policy that has granted Cubans special treatment in gaining legal residency is a way to level the playing field in refugee and asylum policy.
Por favor ten en cuenta que Maria Cristina Garcia puede ser entrevistada en español.
“The ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy that allows Cubans who arrive without visas to remain in the country and gain legal residency has been one of the most anachronistic features of refugee and asylum policy. To fast track one group over others with equally legitimate claims has contributed to Americans’ overall disaffection with immigration policy.
“The 1980 Refugee Act tried to separate refugee policy from U.S. foreign policy by adopting the UN’s more ideologically neutral definition of refugee. Despite attempts to free refugee policy from ideological bias, it is a system that is highly responsive to politicized advocacy. Such is the case with the Cubans. Thanks to a powerful bloc of legislators on Capitol Hill, Cubans have been guaranteed admission simply because they come from one of the last remaining communist countries.
“To be sure, many Cubans have legitimate grounds for asylum. The new policy will not exclude Cubans from receiving asylum. But like other asylum-seekers, they will have to make their case before an asylum officer or in immigration court.”
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