Reform Now!

The left can nearly always be relied upon to recognize a new and unprecedented situation when it arises, and to propose that it be met resolutely and “creatively,” as it likes to say.  The exceptions come when holding fast to the status quo and “backing down from a challenge” are in its interest.

An illustrative case in point is the arrival of caravans on America’s southwest border, whose members are demanding that the United States give them more or less immediate asylum, or suffer the consequences: thousands of foreigners charging the border patrol under the flags of their home countries.  Just as the arrival of the Haitian boat people in Guantanamo in 1991 recalled the Mariel boatlift from Cuba in 1980, so “the Caravan” ought to recall both.  The Mariel crisis occurred during the Cold War, so the majority of the Marielitos, in flight from Castro’s brutal dictatorship, could make a plausible claim to be refugees, whatever their economic circumstances (though many of them on their arrival in Florida complained only of food rationing and wilted vegetables on the home island).  Even so, President Carter’s response to the complex situation was complex itself.  Far from rushing to declare 120,000 people legal refugees, he attempted to discriminate among the arrivals and, though all but about 25,000 Cubans were guaranteed permanent refugee...

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