We are reading about Cubans who thought they could use the wet foot-dry foot program to secure legal status in the United States after an illegal entry.
Now they are stranded on the other side of the U.S. border, or on the way to it, thanks to the last-minute decision of the Obama administration to (appropriately) end the earlier policy toward Cuban illegals.
We owe nothing to people who have been planning on an illegal entry to our nation.
On the other hand, there will be lots of press coverage of the stranded Cubans, and continuing pressure to let them enter the United States on, perhaps, a parole basis. And some of those who are stranded at the moment will successfully enter the United States illegally.
This is both a messy situation for all concerned and an opportunity for the new Trump administration to do something both unexpected and useful.
Let's charter some planes to take the Cubans from south of our border back to Havana, and give each of them $1,000 in U.S. cash as they deplane in Havana, and then give them another $1,000 six months later at our embassy there.
To get on the plane and to get the money they would all have to sign a paper saying that they will not try to enter America in any way for five years, and if they violated that, and are caught in the United States, they agree in advance to plead guilty to a violation of the immigration laws, and to a jail sentence of no less than two years in the United States.
Now, for the individuals, a free plane ticket and $2,000 is not equal to the grant of legal presence in the United States. On the other hand, it is a lot better than to be stuck in limbo and without income on the other side of our border.
The fly-home program will give the new administration a chance to do something dramatic, creative, and not in opposition to its strict immigration policy. It will also reduce the pressure on the southern border.
Why not try it? The Cubans who refuse the offer will be undermining their own position, and Trump will be in the happy position of getting some headlines for doing the right thing.