The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans who departed from Cuba's Mariel Harbor for the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980. The Cuban government subsequently announced that anyone who wanted to leave could do so, and an exodus by boat started shortly afterward. The exodus was organized by Cuban-Americans with the agreement of Cuban president Fidel Castro. The exodus started to have negative political implications for U.S. President Jimmy Carter when it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities. The Mariel boatlift was ended by mutual agreement between the two governments involved in October 1980. By that point, as many as 125,000 Cubans had made the journey to Florida.
Cuban Refugee Immigrants (CRI) have received generous acts from American tax payers for 40 years with regard to Cuban privileged amnesty via the Cuban Adjustment Act and/or the wet foot dry foot policy. Cuban immigrants have received government benefits, housing allowances and more. For the first time in its history the United States became a country of first asylum for large numbers of displaced persons as thousands of Cuban refugees have found political refuge here beginning in the 1960's. According to the Office of Social Security, a substantial number of children, mostly between the ages of 5 and 16, have come to this country from Cuba, unaccompanied by their parents or others acting in the place of parents. Many parents prefer this separation to the risks involved in having their children indoctrinated with an ideology hateful to them.
But why are American tax payers still funding Cuban Refugee Immigrants with welfare and other government perks after 40 years? Particularly when Cuba travel restrictions were lifted? Why are Cuban immigrants going back to the Nation they claim they are fleeing because it is supposed to be so corrupt?
While we hear Republican talking heads blame the broken immigration system on President Obama (even though he did not design the current immigration law), we see them avoiding mentioning who the initial contributors to human smuggling were prior to the Central American crisis and during the Bush years. According to this 2007 New York Times story: "American officials say the migration, which has grown into a multimillion-dollar-a-year smuggling enterprise, has risen sharply because many Cubans have lost hope that Raúl Castro, who took over as president from his brother Fidel in 2006, will make changes that will improve their lives."
Americans in the southwestern part of the United States of Mexican and Latin descent believe there is a solution in handling the Central American humanitarian crisis affecting minor children, and it has to do with a type of trading out the Cuban Adjustment Act for a type of modified and more reasonable Refugee Act to include more stringent time restrictions -- not the 40 years Cubans have enjoyed. Indeed more than ever legal immigration reform ought to be addressed that will enable family members to visit their relatives in various Latin countries without fear of reprisal under the current broken immigration system. Fixing the broken immigration system will reduce the desperate family members from wanting to sneak back and forth (in order to prevent a bloated detention center costing tax payers) in order to visit family members in the United States.
Unfortunately Cuban Republican politicians began creating a wedge with other Latin groups when Florida's Senator Marco Rubio supported Arizona's anti-immigrant "show me your papers" law via SB 1070. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (born in Canada and son of Cuban immigrant who bribed his way into our Nation) fueled that anger when he reversed his pro immigrant reform position he had under the Bush administration to get ahead in his Texas senate race. Never mind how thousands of Cubans have been sneaking through Mexico in order to enter our Nation. Even still, more and more Latino groups have witnessed a weak legal immigration reform push by Republican House of Representatives like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart.
Nonetheless, and despite the wedges that were created -- Cuban American Republican politicians have a unique opportunity to make up for their loss of street credibility with the other Latino ethnic groups (who do not benefit from Cuban amnesty). Speaker Boehner recently appointed Rep. Diaz-Balart to the border humanitarian crisis task force, and we believe it would be a good idea for Rep. Diaz-Balart to admit to the antiquated policies under the Cuban Adjustment Act, and submit a policy that will end the 40 years of Cuban welfare in order to share refugee generous acts with regard to the humanitarian crisis Central American minor children are experiencing today. Ending 40 years of Cuban welfare should not be very hard to do for Republicans since they believe in "limited government" anyway. More importantly, this would be the time for both Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart to put more pressure on the Republican Speaker to move the legal immigration reform bill forward that was approved by the Senate over one year ago.
Both Republican Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart have failed to put constant pressure on Speaker John Boehner thus far, and in fact both have meddled in foreign affairs beyond our borders instead of focusing and taking care of Homeland business first affecting millions living in the shadows of society. Notably, the GOP Speaker is directly responsible for obstructing the forward movement of legal immigration reform and he compounded a gridlock atmosphere when he threatened to sue Obama. To date we have not seen any Cuban American Republican leadership denounce Speaker Boehner's lawsuit against the President of the United States for his immigration policies like DACA helping DREAM Act students.
In order for Cuban American politicians to have a decent level of street credibility with their constituents and voters of Latin descent (particularly during Presidential election cycles when they attempt to woo Mexican American voters underscoring their "Hispanic" surnames), we need to see these Cuban American Republican politicians work with the same fervor they had when they fought for Elian Gonzalez to stay in our Nation. The majority of us in the southwestern part of the United States believe Cuban amnesty is one of the reasons Cuban American leaders do not conduct themselves with the same level of urgency the rest of us have in support of legal immigration reform.
It's time for Cuban American Republican politicians to share the refugee love afforded to them during their time of need, as they consider sharing or offset tax payer monies over to the children who fled a violent Central America to be with their parents. More importantly, we need to see them put constant fierce pressure on Speak Boehner to put immigration reform for vote because stalling reform is forcing more families apart as hard working parents are deported to other countries. Elections have their consequences.
El Voto Castigo.