Last week, U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar introduced H.R. 3818, the Ending Special National Origin-Based Immigration Programs for Cubans Act of 2015, which aims to repeal the outdated “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” policy for Cuban immigrants. Original cosponsors that joined Gosar in introducing this legislation include Representatives Dave Brat, Mo Brooks, Scott DesJarlais, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Walter Jones, Steve King and Ted Poe.
Congressman Gosar’s bill repeals the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, calls for termination of the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy and requires that all immigrants from Cuba are treated in the same manner as any other person seeking to immigrate to the United States.
The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 initially allowed for “any native or citizen of Cuba” who had been “inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States subsequent to January 1, 1959” and who had been physically present in the United States for two years, to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
This law was later amended to change the physically present requirement to one year and Cuban immigrants are currently allowed to stay in this country to work and are also put on a path to citizenship. This is a luxury and benefit that no other country in the world enjoys, and given that the president has reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba, such actions are unwarranted and defy commonsense.
Gosar said the “three outdated policies that provide amnesty to Cuban aliens and are costing taxpayers billions of dollars. If President Obama has normalized relations with Cuba, why would we treat illegal immigrants from that nation any different than those from other countries? The Obama Administration continues to rule by executive fiat without any regard for our nation’s immigration laws or our country’s system of checks and balances that was established by the Constitution.”
“My legislation is a commonsense solution that will level the playing field and end the outdated policies that provide amnesty to Cuban aliens and criminals,” continued Gosar. “Cuban nationals should be treated under the same immigration rules as any other person seeking to immigrate to the United States and should not receive preferential treatment.”
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), issued following statement in support of the “Ending Special National Origin-Based Immigration Programs for Cubans Act of 2015”: “FAIR congratulates Rep. Paul Gosar for introducing long overdue legislation to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act. The law, which created a separate immigration policy for Cuban nationals is an outdated relic of the Cold War. Continuing this policy serves no national interest and is perpetuated purely for domestic political purposes. A recent investigative report by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel provides conclusive evidence that the Cuban Adjustment Act is being widely abused, at great expense to American taxpayers. It is time to end this special immigration policy and treat Cuban nationals the same way we treat citizens of every other country.”
Roy Beck, President of NumbersUSA stated, “NumbersUSA has long opposed immigration policies that discriminate on the basis of national origin. This bill is an important step in removing such discrimination from our immigration system.”
According to an op-ed published in the New York Times, “Every Cuban knows the ‘Wet Foot/Dry Foot’ drill: Risk fleeing to the United States and get caught at sea, and you will be sent back to the island; but if you wangle just one toe onto dry land, you’re home free. From there, typically, it’s a fast track to permanent residency, and eligibility for all manner of benefits, from green cards to welfare, then citizenship — all compliments of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Indeed, for almost a half century, Cubans have been the most privileged immigrants in the United States. The repeal of this Cold War relic of immigration policy is long overdue.”