|via the Sun-Sentinel series, |
Plundering America, The Cuban Criminal Pipeline.
Via CBS News: "When Trump declared himself a Republican candidate for president last month, he warned that the U.S. is becoming a "dumping ground" for the world's problems."
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." -Donald Trump
But as Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm pointed out in his column this past Sunday, "only certain undocumented immigrants will be catching hell during the primary season."
Republican presidential candidates seem less bothered by the thousands of Cuban immigrants who enter this country without the proper legal documents, many of them coming across that same Mexican border. The Houston Chronicle reported last week that of the nearly 24,000 Cubans who arrived at the southern U.S. ports of entry (including Miami) from October to June, 67 percent crossed the Mexican border at Laredo.
In February, my colleagues Alfonso Chardy and Nora Gámez Torres turned up similar numbers. They reported that in the previous five months, 17,459 of 20,384 Cubans entering the U.S. without permission had come out of Mexico. Only 814 had come ashore in South Florida. The old policy known as “wet foot, dry foot” has become a misnomer.
Their method of entering the U.S. is no more legal than that of undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans sneaking over the same frontier. Except that, the moment Cuban migrants step into Texas, they come under the magical auspices of the Cuban Adjustment Act.
Trump’s xenophobic declarations will lead other Republican candidates to discuss — or rave like lunatics about — the perceived permissiveness of U.S. immigration policy. They won’t be saying much about the people who enjoy the most permissive immigration policies afforded any nationality, thanks to a relic of the Cold War: the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.
Too bad. It would be interesting to hear candidates defend this law, supposedly contrived to provide refuge for victims of political oppression, though those victims now travel back to visit oppressive Cuba 400,000 times a year.
Apparently, the effects of oppression are hereditary. The children, and even grandchildren, of Cuban immigrants who’ve lived all their lives in a third nation, who’ve never visited Cuba, can also claim the privileged immigration status conferred on so-called political refugees from the Castro regime.
Political demagogues like to rail about Mexican “illegals” exploiting U.S. services. They don’t mention the special benefits conferred on Cuban arrivals, including eight months of cash assistance, food stamps, medical coverage, job-placement services and free English classes. In 2008, the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies estimated that the U.S. spent about $322 million a year on these special benefits for Cuban immigrants. Which come with a green card after just one year’s wait, and a fast track to citizenship
In sheer numbers, of course, the influx of Mexican migrant laborers far outnumbers Cubans. Both groups suffer some small percentage of outlaws. But as the Herald’s Jay Weaver and Juan Tamayo reported last year, the special treatment Cubans enjoy under the CAA actually facilitates criminal ventures. Weaver and Tamayo wrote about Cuban immigrants running Medicare scams who are able to stash their loot safely away in Cuban banks. When the FBI comes nosing around, the supposed exiles escape prosecution by heading home to Cuba, where, thanks to the country’s dysfunctional diplomatic relationship with the U.S., they’re safe from extradition. The Sun Sentinel published a series on the same phenomenon this past spring, reporting that Cuban criminals operating in South Florida were responsible for an estimated 41 percent of the nation’s Medicare fraud.
Sun-Sentinel - Plundering America: The Cuban Criminal Pipeline