Will a Haiti Cuba Refugee Surge Sink Biden?

The combination of a vicious and mysterious assassination of Haiti’s president and unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba spell political danger for US President Joe Biden should they engender a massive flow of refugees.

Biden already faces criticism for allowing tens of thousands of largely economic migrants, mostly from Central America, to cross illicitly from Mexico. Another wave directly from Haiti and/or Cuba landing on Florida’s shore would present the administration with a supplemental headache.

Biden gets generally favorable reviews for his handling of the US economy and the Covid-19 pandemic, but not for border control. Polls show anywhere from 55% to 60% disapproval of his handling of the migrant influx. In February, about 97,000 migrants crossed illegally; by May, the monthly number had risen to about 180,000.

Since the late 1970s, policies of American presidents toward Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, and Cuba, suffering the persistent stagnation of a decayed Communist revolution, have centered on avoiding an uncontrolled refugee influx.

The nightmare political prototype arose late in the single-term presidency of Jimmy Carter. In 1979, 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian Embassy in Havana with hopes of obtaining political asylum. Carter off-handedly remarked, “We’ll continue to offer an open heart and open arms to refugees seeking freedom from Communist domination.”

Daniel Williams

Published by Daniel Williams

I am a former correspondent who, for more than 30 years, did time in China, Southeast Asia, Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and covered wars that went from episodic to non-stop. My book, "Forsaken," about Christian persecution in the Middle East came out January, 2016. NextWarNotes is a news and analysis blog designed to fill gaps, provide background and think about what’s next. The name of the site comes from a 1935 article by Ernest Hemingway in Esquire Magazine called “Notes on the Next War,” in which he predicted the coming conflagration in Europe, told why it would happen and warned Americans to stay out.

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