Cuban-Americans have always been the most conservative segment of the Hispanic community, with a significant majority voting Republican in presidential elections. Who could blame them? Many Cubans residing in “Little Havana” in Florida either fled Fidel Castro’s regime, or are descendants of those who did. Is it any surprise they have a particular disdain for the leftist policies they left behind?
It’s been pointed out previously that there are perverse incentives for Democrats on the issue of illegal immigration — as if amnesty were to be enacted, most of those entering the US illegally come from ethnic groups that overwhelmingly vote Democrat. If there were millions of Cubans fleeing to America, it’s Republicans who would find themselves in a similar position. And for them, there’s no amnesty needed, as thanks to the “wet foot, dry foot” policy Bill Clinton put through in 1995, allowing anyone who fled Cuba permission to pursue residency a year later.
That is — until now.
As BizPacReview reported:
In an effort to continue normalization of U.S./Cuban relations, President Obama used an administrative rule change to end a longstanding policy that allows Cubans who set foot on “dry” U.S. soil to become a legal resident, according to the AP.“Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal, consistent with U.S. law and enforcement priorities. By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries. The Cuban government has agreed to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed, just as it has been accepting the return of migrants interdicted at sea.” Though Cuba is in favor of the change, it first had to agree to accept repatriations of people who arrive in the U.S., something it had not done before.
Yes, you read that right — the Obama administration is actually getting tough on immigration. The policy shift created a social media storm with speculation and commentary:
— Contented Kimmie (@kimmieguy) January 12, 2017
We found immigrants Obama doesn't want. https://t.co/Go8NLlYUyh
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 12, 2017
Given the human rights abuses of the Cuban government, perhaps “we found refugees Obama doesn’t want” would be an appropriate observation, too.
A Twitter account parodying Josh Earnest had the funniest reporting on the matter:
POTUS would've kept the "wet foot, dry foot" policy in place, but we couldn't get assurances from Havana that they'd only send Democrats.
— Josh Earnst (@NotJoshEarnest) January 12, 2017
What do you think the motivation is here? Why is the man who tried to expedite the naturalization process ahead of November’s election, and, on video appeared to encourage illegals to vote now suddenly taking a firm stance? It’s not like there’s a statistically significant number of Cuban immigrants fleeing Cuba to give Republicans any real edge in elections anyway. Is it just a level of pettiness on par with Bridgegate?
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]