Bryan Caplan  

Cuba to Open Its Border (Outwards)

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Starting in January, Cubans will no longer need exit visas to leave their workers' paradise.  Just one problem: Are there any First World countries that will let them come?

For that matter, what's the best Third World country that will let them come?

Update: Yes, I'm familiar with the U.S. "wet feet/dry feet" policy.  But as far as I can tell, this doesn't mean that the U.S. will give a travel visa to any Cuban who wants one.  And even if it did, will the U.S. really stick to its current policy after Cuba opens up?

COMMENTS (10 to date)
Arnold Kling writes:

Google "wet feet, dry feet" or read Tom Wolfe's new novel

Fazal Majid writes:

Actually the USA have exceedingly liberal immigration rules for Cubans, specially those who claim persecution. Fidel Castro exploited this before by freeing common law criminals from Cuban prisons and encouraging them to emigrate to the US, thus ridding himself of undesirables and damaging the reputation of Cuban exiles in a single stroke. The 1980 Mariel boat lift is the inspiration for the movie Scarface.

Daniel Artz writes:

To the extent that I have a vote, I say let them all come in. At least we'd have some more immigrants that understand the damage done by socialism and would truly appreciate liberty. And to the extent we can get them naturalized and voting, all the better.

Alex Nowrasteh writes:

"[T]he United States has a unique immigration policy for Cubans. Known as the 'wet foot/dry foot policy,' if a Cuban reaches American soil he or she is allowed to gain permanent residency within a year. If a Cuban is captured at sea, he or she is returned to Cuba unless they cite fears of persecution. This means that most Cubans who want to leave, with the exception of violent or other criminal offenders, will be able to stay in the United States if they are able to make it to American soil. No other nationality in nearly a century, except the Hungarians in the 1950s, has been subject to such a generous policy.

Because of their unique legal-immigration status, the Cuban-born population living in the United States was excluded from estimates of unauthorized immigrants and very few of them are likely in violation of any immigration laws."

Chris H writes:

With luck the "wet foot, dry foot" policy won't be restricted in response to this move by Cuba. The influential Cuban block in Florida should help oppose that and hopefully the implications will be overlooked by anti-immigration advocates. In which case we may get a situation of nearly free immigration from Cuba. That'd be a start at least.

Bryan Caplan writes:

Alex: Will the U.S. give Cubans travel visas? If so, do you think current U.S. policy toward Cuba will persist?

Trespassers W writes:

Dear future Cuban immigrants:

Welcome to America. Please open a restaurant near my house. Also a bakery/coffee shop somewhere on my commute.

Trespassers W

Joe Cushing writes:

I hope a million of them come. They can educate the rest of us on Socialism. Maybe there is an Ayn Rand over there with books in her head just waiting to be put down into text.

Alex Nowrasteh writes:

I think the U.S. will issue some visas, but visas are less relevant for Cubans because they are close to Florida and have numerous other ways of illegal entry that get them over the finish line. The Cuba to Mexico to US route has been popular in recent years. All they have to do is get here and, assuming they're not criminals, they can stay under current law.

The current policy toward Cuba will persist for the near future. The political power of Cubans has never been stronger and they are very successful at block voting and getting what they want. After the Mariel Boatlift a bunch of nativist politicians in South Florida passed English only laws and other pieces of legislation hostile to Cubans. In response, Cubans organized and voted them all out of office and repealed those laws. Politically they own South Florida and much of the state. Cubans in South Florida seem to want the rest of their families and other refugees to come so I think they will be allowed to.

American law toward Cuba is "supposed" to change when the Communist regime falls, according to legislative intent, but that will require an act of Congress. I don't see any party sticking out their neck to do that.

Thiago writes:

"To the extent that I have a vote, I say let them all come in. At least we'd have some more immigrants that understand the damage done by socialism and would truly appreciate liberty. And to the extent we can get them naturalized and voting, all the better."
Do they understand the damage done by socialism or would it be more accurate to say they understand the damage done by their peculiar one-party soviet-like socialism? Do they even understand this far? Maybe they think socialism would be have been great if only those darn yankees have not put in place that horrible, horrible blockade. This is the story they have been told all their lifes, none of them bought it? Now, America is a different story. Who would be able to undermine American socialism? Well, maybe those horrible bonds holding Chinese capitalists...

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