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U.S. immigration policy: Cuba vs. Haiti

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Hati.
    1. History of exploitation, instability, and dictatorship.
    2. Waves of haitian migration.
    3. U.S. immigration policies toward Haitian immigrants post 1980.
  3. Cuba.
    1. History of exploitation and revolution.
    2. Characteristics of Cuban immigration to the United States.
    3. U.S. immigration policy towards Cubans.
  4. Conclusion: Cuban vs Haitian immigration policy.

United States immigration policy towards Haitian and Cuban immigrants is often discussed for its discrepancies. Historically, both countries have experienced political and economic instability that have inevitably led to massive out migration, a large portion of which headed towards the U.S. Nonetheless, American policy towards both groups of immigrants has not been consistent. Although Haitians also suffer from political persecution, human rights violations, and economic disparity, they have greater difficulty than Cuban immigrants in attaining asylum in the U.S. Politicians have provided ideological justifications to back special treatment for Cuban migrants; however, current U.S. policy toward Haitian and Cuban immigration is outdated and should be revised to promote stability and democracy in both countries. As such, if the goal is to deter further immigration, the U.S. should look for ways to aid the Haitian people ensure stability and economic growth.

[...] This occurred despite a 1984 bilateral immigration agreement (suspended in 1985 and reinstated in 1987) which claimed that the U.S. would issue up to 20,000 immigration visas per year for Cuban applicants. Nonetheless, attaining a legal visa involved a long, complicated process, wait lists, and stringent qualifications. As such, the Interest Section in Havana only issued 11,222 immigrant visas from 1985 to 1994. (Max Castro Following the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the economic crisis in Cuba deepened, the number of rafters gradually increased, and the U.S. [...]

[...] (Stotzky 20) In addition, Haiti has a long history of political corruption and military violence. Ceaseless coups, assassinations, human rights violations, and hostilities with the Dominican Republic have also undermined democratic attempts. Furthermore, the United States occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934 only exacerbated problems within the country; it weakened civil society and solidified the state apparatus. Rather than promoting democracy, the U.S. Marines stimulated further centralization of urban control in Part-au-Prince. As a result, through the ?pacification? of the rural areas, economic, fiscal, and political power was further concentrated in the hands of the elites. [...]

[...] Characteristics of Cuban Immigration to the United States Cuban migration to the United States dates back to the mid 1830s when Cuban cigar manufacturers, in an attempt to avoid high U.S. tariffs, relocated to Key West. The ensuing wars of independence with Spain also brought a substantial number of Cuban exiles to the United States. From the turn of the century to the 1950s, a large number of Cubans fleeing dictatorship or seeking economic opportunities arrived in the U.S. Yet, Cuban immigration increased most in the years preceding the Cuban Revolution, and nearly tripled every decade from the 1930s to the 1960s. [...]

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