IFCO/Pastors for Peace welcomes the joint declaration of the governments of Cuba and the United States to work together for a safe and regulated migration between both countries.
In ending the “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” policy, the Obama administration has made an important step forward in the process of truly normalizing relations between Cuba and the United States.
For more than two decades, this erroneous policy served as an incentive for Cuban immigration to our country in the most dangerous of conditions, leading many to lose their lives in search of a distant “American Dream” as they crossed the shark-infested Florida Straits and travelled along other insecure routes.
Under the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy Cuban citizens were the only immigrants entitled to a special privilege that allowed them to stay in the US and receive permanent status. Citizens of no other country were entitled to this privilege; not citizens of Haiti, Mexico, Honduras or any others who risked their lives to travel to the US for economic reasons.
As we welcome the Obama administration’s giant step to end this highly politicized policy, we call on incoming President Trump to refrain from re-politicizing the issue by reversing President Obama’s decision.
In addition, we applaud the policy change that will end the outrageous program that enticed Cuban medical professionals away from their internationalist missions. This policy not only caused untold damage to Cuba but also severely undermined the wonderful life-saving work that these professionals have accomplished around the world.
The hypocrisy of the Cuban Medical Parole Program is even more glaring given Cuba’s work to train more medical professionals (80,000+) for FREE than any other country in human history. Not to mention the generous medical school scholarships that Cuba has provided to nearly 200 US citizens who could not afford to study medicine in their own country.
Despite these positive changes, we still believe that its necessary to end the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which holds that every Cuban who arrives in the US is a political refugee and therefore can receive permanent residency only a year and a day after arriving.
In light of this, our profound belief as people of faith and conscience is that the government of the United States needs a new and just immigration policy that can welcome all people regardless of their nationality or faith. Ultimately this would require a revision of the imperial foreign policies of war and terror that drive immigrants from their homes in search of a better future.
IFCO/Pastors for Peace will continue to push the US government to work toward building a more humane policy for all economic migrants and to establish comprehensive immigration reform.