Friday, January 13, 2017

US Ends Wet Foot, Dry Foot Immigration Policy for Cubans

US Ends Wet Foot, Dry Foot Immigration Policy for Cubans

by Stephen Lendman

The policy was a 1995 revision of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act. It lets Cubans arriving in America seek residency after one year and eventual US citizenship. Others intercepted at sea are denied entry.

As of Obama’s Thursday announcement, the policy is null and void, Cubans to be treated like other immigrants henceforth - unless Trump intends reinstituting what Obama ended.

Also ending immediately is a program to lure Cuban doctors abroad to abandon their contractual missions and come to America.

Cuba agreed to admit its citizens with US deportation orders. The obvious question is why didn’t Obama institute this policy early in his tenure instead of waiting until its end. His 11th hour decision changed nothing else in US/Cuba relations.

His December 2014 pledge about “charting a new course on Cuba” concealed no fundamental change in US policy. Embargo, limited US travel and other restrictions remain in place. So does longstanding hostility toward Cuban sovereign independence.

Normalized relations aren’t possible without ending over half a century of lawless embargo. Obama doesn’t need congressional permission. Claiming otherwise is willful deception.

He can rescind Jack Kennedy’s 1962 executive order, prohibiting trade with US enemies, defined as “any individual (or) government of any nation” at war with America.

Cuba isn’t now or earlier a US enemy as defined under the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act. Neither country declared war on the other.

Embargo never should have been imposed in the first place, a shameful illegal act, violating UN Charter provisions and other international laws, affirming free trade and navigation.

Trump is unlikely to end it. During his Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, secretary of state designee Rex Tillerson shamefully criticized Cuban human rights, saying Washington should hold its government “accountable for its record.”

“Supporting human rights in our foreign policy is a key component in making it clear to the world what the United States stands for,” Tillerson falsely claimed.

He has things backwards. No nation abuses human rights more egregiously at home and abroad than America.

While campaigning, Trump said he’d reverse Obama’s (dubious) diplomatic outreach by executive order unless Cuba’s government meets US demands - not an encouraging sign.

Both nations would benefit greatly from a new era of political, economic, commercial and financial normalization, unlikely based on comments by Trump and Tillerson.

Since 1960, embargo cost Cuba over $750 billion, according to its government - punishment for its sovereign independence, the fundamental right of all nations.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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