The New York Times' Brain Drain (Contradiction) on Immigration

Monday, November 17, 2014
On the very same weekend that The New York Times' Editorial Board called on President Obama to go "big and bold" with executive action on immigration, it criticizes an immigration program that provides refuge (consistent with international law) to Cuban doctors who choose to defect in third-countries.

To add further irony, the NYT criticizes the "vast resources wasted on deporting needed workers" as regards immigration generally; yet accuses the Cuban refugee program of "exacerbating a brain drain."

Apparently, the real brain drain is taking place inside the NYT's Editorial Board, whose Cuba obsession ("lobbying campaign") has run smack into the law of diminishing returns -- the more editorials they write, the more revealing the gaffes.

In its latest editorial, the NYT sees nothing wrong with the Castro regime making billions off the backs of these Cuban doctors, who it sends to remote and dangerous locations, while paying them meager wages.

It sees nothing wrong with the Castro regime earning over a 90% profit margin, per doctor.

It sees nothing wrong with these arrangements being in violation of the U.N.'s Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the International Labor Organization's ("ILO") Convention on the Protection of Wages.

It sees nothing wrong with Cuban doctors being tracked-down, kidnapped and repatriated, upon trying to defect; or the security and intelligence apparatus that keeps a watchful eye of them; or withholds their passports; or separates their families, in order to dissuade defection.

(For more inconvenient truths about Cuba's "slave trade" in doctors, see this week's column by Mary O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal here).

For the NYT, Cuba's "medical diplomacy" is a humanitarian endeavor, despite the overwhelming evidence that proves its commercial nature.

Thus, according to the NYT's rationale, Cuba's doctors must remain good soldiers of the dictatorship, even if they are denied their most basic human rights. And the U.S. must collude with these illegal arrangements.

Bottom line:

Seeking refuge is not imposed on any Cuban doctor -- it's a basic, internationally-recognized human right.

Moreover, the NYT's ignores a fundamental fact:

Upon arriving in the United States, Cuban doctors who choose to defect face an uphill struggle to ever practice medicine again.

As an objective NYT journalist (an apparent rarity these days) wrote in 2009:

"Foreign doctors trained in languages other than English face immense challenges getting a license to practice in the United States. Not only must they relearn their profession in English, but must also work to support themselves and their families. Cuban doctors, in particular, tend to be older by the time they arrive in the United States, sometimes too old to dedicate years to studying for exams and finding and completing a residency program."

And as a Cuban doctor, who defected, stated:

"I know neurosurgeons who are working in warehouses or factories or as gas attendants.”

Hardly a "brain drain".

Yet, the defections continue -- and are on the rise.


Because despite the NYT's starry-eyed view of Cuba -- freedom is invaluable.