Joe Cardona, in the Miami Herald, asks the question "Time to revisit the Cuban Adjustment Act?" I have an answer for him.
Go ahead and revisit the Cuban Adjustment Act. While you're at it, eliminate it.
The reason people like Mr. Cardona and Rep. Rivera want to tinker with it is because the results are embarrassing. People take advantage of it. Why wouldn't they? They can avoid the hassles of going through the normal immigration process; some waits for visas for some countries are over twenty years. Sure, they fudge a little bit when they say that they are seeking asylum, but that only bothers the anti-Cuba group because what these "refugees" do show the Adjustment Act to be preposterous. Actual people who have sought asylum don't happily travel back to the place of their persecution, as the Cubans here do. It's not a secret that these people weren't fleeing persecution, it's obvious enough. Plus the situation causes others to see the unfairness of the immigration policy that allows this option for Cubans only.
The "chatter" around the coffee shops in Miami about this issue shows that there exist great divisions within the Cuba community. We have the old guard, who is stuck on Kennedy's decision not to launch a war during the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. On the other hand, we have the growing number of people who came to the U.S. for economic reasons, not political ideology. They are younger, fresher, and have a much more close connection with the island. That is why they support more openness and a large number don't support the hurtful policies of the U.S. They are some of the same people who suffered the effects of the economic strangulation of their homeland which the old guard supported wholeheartedly, and still does. So naturally, they are less concerned with what image is projected by the Cuban Adjustment Act, they simply used it to their advantage.
The pro-embargo, pro-isolationist, pro-living in the past, pro-provocation crowd now wants to remedy the situation. Why? How? Not by recognizing that the people claiming political asylum are actually coming for economic reasons, but by leaving in place the opportunity for the mirage to continue so they can continue to claim that there continues to be a flow of persecuted people from Cuba. They want to clean up parts of the mess that their propaganda has produced so they want to impose restrictions to travel for those who have taken advantage of the law. It certainly has become hard for them to claim that these people are real asylum seekers when the supposed refugees return so quickly and so often without the slightest fear of running into a problem.
The hard liners like to have and tout the statistics showing that there is a steady steam of asylum seekers leaving Cuba. For this reason they want to leave the Cuban Adjustment Act in place. They just can't figure out how to explain that these asylum seekers can freely and willingly return to the place of their supposed repression. It's quite a pickle that these hard liners have gotten into! As they evolve their rationale for maintaining the embargo and all of the silly policies and government handouts that go along with the provocative policies against Cuba, such as Radio Marti and the numerous "democracy programs" that they prosper from, they choose to ignore the obvious, that the policy is wrong.
How weak their position is if all they can come up with is continuing the Adjustment Act but not allowing people to travel back if they want to. Just let the "refugees" test their luck. If they really believed that they would face a problem upon their entrance to the island and choose to go anyway, then that is their choice. But as we can see they don't worry to much about that possibility since they are often eager to return for visits. And who wouldn't want to visit and help their relatives that they moved away from.
What these people like Rep. Rivera and Mr. Cardona don't have the strength to admit is that the whole political asylum thing is a myth. The policy should be abandoned. In doing so we shouldn't retroactively punish those who took advantage of this foolish policy created to create an illusion. We should simply stop pretending that Cubans are any different than the rest of the people trying to relocate to find a better economic situation. We should grant asylum to the people truly seeking it for real reasons, from anywhere, but maintaining this special law just for Cubans is beyond ridiculous.
As for the Cubans in this country, the quickest way to contribute to a better situation between your new home and your homeland is to register to vote and clear out these disgruntled relics in our government and elect some people who are genuinely concerned with improving relations.