Monday, May 29, 2006

WET FOOT, DRY FOOT

"I lift my lamp beside the golden door, right here in Miami. Give me your Cubans."

Mexican Foot, Cuban Foot...

A few weeks ago I posted about how I was sick of the immigration debate as it was being waged and tired of posts about the topic. I said I'd not post until something significant happened - but there's a perspective in this debate that is not being talked about in the media which I think is interesting and important.

Babalu blog is primarily concerned with the island nation of Cuba and it's cruel, greedy dictator Fidel Castro. But it also has occasional thoughts on other matters in the USA regarding national topics, Val Prieto had a post on immigration recently.

I do, however, have to state publicly, here and now, that I am extremely disappointed in our "Republican" Cuban-American Senator from Florida Mel Martinez. He voted "yea" for the amnesty bill, which included a last minute ammendment to said bill which states:

(b) CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT.--Consultations between United States and Mexican authorities at the federal, state, and local levels concerning the construction of additional fencing and related border security structures along the United States-Mexico border shall be undertaken prior to commencing any new construction, in order to solicit the views of affected communities, lessen tensions and foster greater understanding and stronger cooperation on this and other important issues of mutual concern.

Basically, the US government must now ask permission from the Mexican government before it secures our borders. This is the same Mexican government, Senator Martinez, that just deported 57 Cuban refugees seeking freedom from fidel castro's tyranny, the very same tyranny you fled all alone as a child via Pedro Pan. What kind of precedent will this set, Senator?

Val includes a warning for his senator, one among the millions that congress best heed:

And still, not a damed peep from you, Senator Martinez, on the wet foot/dry foot policy. You prefer to grant amnesty to immigranst from a free country as opposed to exiles from a dictatorial state.

I can assure you, Senator, that this Cuban-American Republican will remember this come re-election time.

The wet/dry foot policy he mentions is also brought up in an excellent article by Jay Homnick in the Why Simper to Fidel?:

So I'll tell you what. Here's my deal. If you guys in the Senate want to ram through an immigration bill to reach out and bring all these folks into the Big Tent of the Republican Party, I'll bite my lip and go along. I won't be legalistic or puristic or a nudnik. You want me to give you your short-order cooks and your lawn guys and your house painters, you got it.

But I want something in return. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door, right here in Miami. Give me your Cubans. (No, not the cigars. Apparently Babbin copped all of those.)

HERE WE HAVE one of the great ironies. The one group of emigres with the most legitimate claim for asylum is the Cubans. The one law-abiding cadre that doesn't make large demonstrations is the Cubans. The one enclave that never presses for bilingual education but works to master English without complaint is the Cubans. (You would never hear them yelling "March!" in April.) And -- here is your full daily USDA RDA of irony -- the only reliable clique of Hispanic voters for the Republican Party is Cuban. Well, guess what? As things stand, the proposed immigration bill leaves the Cubans missing the boat.

These folks are living ninety miles from our shores under the longest-ruling dictator on the planet. While he jubilantly closes in on his jubilee, defiant in his autocracy, oppressive and restrictive and vindictive, we not only refrain from interfering in his internal affairs, we turn away his escapees. Plenty of hardy Cubans would hot-foot it here, but they get cold feet because of our "wet foot - dry foot" policy. This means that after days of baking in the sun on a makeshift raft made out of a car fender and a few pickle barrels, then swimming with labored strokes toward shore, throat parched, breathing stertorous, spirit flickering, if the Coast Guard can intercept you a foot from shore, back you go to the Communist paradise. Foot on shore, more sure of foot, you stay.
This article as well is a good read and brings up problems about immigration that are not being considered in the haste to appease corporations and big farms. Commenters on Bablu Blog had this to say:
Great article, how long has it been since that wet foot/dry foot "meeting"? Too bad President Bush doesn't have the b*lls to just do what's right. Eleven million cross our border illegally and that's acceptable, but i guess a thousand or so Cubans is just more than we can handle. What a cruel hypocrisy.

I can't wait to hear the Cuba policy recommendations. Is there any doubt that Cubans are the immigration scapegoats? God f**g forbid we upset V. Fox and Mexico, but it's kiss castro's ass time once again. By the way, I predict that the estimated count of 12 million illegals will turn out to be more like 16 million plus.
-by Ziva

It might be wisest to keep an open mind. The way I see these Mexican migrants voted with their feet, and they voted for the US.

Yes I get angry every time I hear of Cuban rafters returned to Cuba from Mexico, but that is the Mexican government doing that. Those idiots with images of the murderous Che Guevara on their t-shirts are only trying to make trouble, they know that by now 40% or so of Mexican Americans vote Republican.
Yes I know it is not the 80-90% of Cuban American still it is enough to help swing the balance.

let us press Senator Martinez to get rid of that dry foot requirement, and let all escaping Cubans into the US.
-by Larry Daley

I live in LA, I grew up here, and for LA, this whole discussion is at least 30 years too late. I honestly don't care about the Mexicans moving into LA because by the second or third generation they are English speaking conservative homeowners. That's a fact. What I care about is the hypocritical amnesty for 12 (in my opinion a very conservatie estimate) millon Mexicanos while handfulls of Cubans are sent back to castros gulag. Where the fuck are the Cuban American politicos on this? What is this? Hug a Mexican, execute a Cuban? What the hell is wrong with people?
-by Ziva

Thank God that the Senate can't make Laws without the House! It's not over until the fat lady sings! American public opinion will not allow this charade to continue much longer.
-by Jose Aguirre

Any immigration policy that favors Mexico because it makes life easier for some businesses at the expense of other immigrants - particularly those trying to escape the misery that the island paradise of Cuba was crushed into by communist rebels - is a policy I cannot support.


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