- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2017

The guy is — literally — turning out the lights as he leaves office.

Whatever you think of America’s Cuban immigration policy the past half century, it was both strategic and humanitarian. With a belligerent military dictatorship 90 miles off shore, American leaders of both parties believed it vital to American interests to undercut the brutal Castro regime.

They also believed the only humanitarian response to refugees who escaped with their lives was to welcome them. Jailed, beaten and murdered for their religious and political beliefs in Cuba, these refugees have come to America to both take part in the American dream and contribute mightily to their new homeland.

America’s Cuban policy is in sharp contrast to the way countries in the Middle East respond to vicious hellholes like Syria. We do not put up walls and fences to keep them in their murderous gulags. We do not round them up and put them into concentration camps. We do not pile them onto buses and trains and send them into other countries. Our policy has maintained the truest ideals of the Statue of Liberty.

“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” This line is often misunderstood by the open borders crowd as an invitation to all outsiders, no matter their intentions. While we keep dear our sovereignty to pick who we let into our country, we generally fling open the gates to those “yearning to breathe free” — in other words, political refugees.

Now there is a legitimate argument to be made that over the years migration from Cuba has become more about economics and less about politics. But that is certainly not why President Obama — who supports open borders at every turn — has chosen to slam the door on Cuban migrants.

His is a purely political move to embrace the most savage hereditary dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere while punishing those who bravely stand up to it. And in doing so, he turns out a light that is the only beacon leading to the free world.

Luckily, his days are numbered and the next administration will not flinch to relight that snuffed out torch. Once again, America will signal to the “tempest-tost” and she will lift her lamp “beside the golden door!”

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