[Marxism] Immigration debate misses big exception

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 31 10:18:57 MST 2006


With so much being debated about U.S. immigration policy, there's
one great big area which has been left out so far, until today so
I'd like to ask that everyone share this article far and wide NOW:

Now, finally, someone in the establishment media begins to address
the vast network of privileges which Cubans get that are denied to
all other immigrants from every other country on the planet. This is
the first of what ought to be a much more extensive discussion of a
matter which, as the author indicates, is kept largely out of the
glare of public discussion. She rightly calls this discrimination, 
and correctly identifies it as the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. 

One further point needs to be made, and that is that there was a 
period, from 1965 to 1973 when there were organized legal flights 
from Cuba which had been negotiated between the Cuban and the U.S. 
governments leading to twice-weekly flights from Havana to Miami. 
There were, as a result, no boat people then. Since legal routes 
were cut off in 1973, we've had the dreadful spectacle of Cubans 
on rafts, Mariel and so on. NONE of this would have been necessary 
had Washington maintained those negotiated arrangements with the 
Cuban government. And therefore, this is an article which should 
be shared as widely as possible. 

Her bottom-line is particularly on the mark:

"Such is the result of the "dry feet/wet feet" policy, rooted in 
the outdated 1966 act. It goes against what we tell fleeing masses 
about American democracy. At best it insures the full benefit 
of citizenship to a desperate few. At worst, it smacks of
state-sanctioned, ethnic prejudice creating a caste system 
among Latinos and other wannabe citizens."

Three more articles which add further clarity to this discussion:
http://www.walterlippmann.com/migration.html


Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
http://www.walterlippmann.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews
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Immigration debate misses big exception 
By RHONDA B. GRAHAM 03/30/2006 

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An elephant-sized issue is being avoided amid the rallies and emotional 
debates about illegal immigration currently preoccupying Americans.

If you're Mexican, you take your chances and cross through the deadly
desert of the 2,000-mile border separating your country from the
United States. If you're from Haiti, your best hope is that the Coast
Guard gets so absorbed in processing other refugees that you can
escape before the rifles come out and they start target practicing on
your shabby dinghy.

But, if you're from Cuba and can get your foot on American soil, your
citizenship is virtually instantaneous.

This discriminatory policy goes back to the 1960s when Fidel Castro's
communist rise to power was an embarrassing and threatening affront
to the American way of life. The 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act gave legal
residency to hundreds of thousands of mostly upper-class and educated
Cubans who fled the land and power grab of Castro's regime. In 1980
Castro willingly shipped over more. Most were criminals, unskilled
workers or mentally ill. Fearing the kind of crush that now
undergirds the arguments of immigration opponents, the Clinton
Administration came up with the current "wet foot/dry foot" policy
after thousands of Cubans begin arriving on crude rafts, boats and
inner tubes in the 1990s. More than 37,000 Cubans were rescued from
the Atlantic Ocean. A 1994 policy only turns back those who couldn't
make it to dry land.

Since last week more than half a million illegal immigrants and
supporters demonstrated against a U.S. House bill that sets severe
restrictions on access to citizenship and harsh penalties for
employers, clergy and even doctors who offer assistance to illegal
immigrants.

Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Milwaukee saw flag-waving
throngs from most Latin American countries, but in southern Florida,
where the Cuban community predominates, protests were sparse. An
immigration activist told a local newspaper he was surprised that
only about 500 protesters gathered outside Miami's federal
immigration headquarters last Thursday. Nearly all were Haitians.

Local and national Latinos privately acknowledge the awe that Cubans.
They see how a citizenship guarantee helps the social and political
influence of a culture to gain dominance. From the California farm
worker to the Colorado firefighter and New Mexico roofer, you hear
the admiration for Cuban-American's ability to pull off what other
countries have been unable to provide.

But there is also a silent confusion and some even say resentment 
at such privilege. Non-Cubans are surviving among the shadowy
communities of illegal work forces. This reality makes avoiding
deportation a priority over picking a fight about the favoritism 
your cultural brothers and sisters enjoy.

Despite the legislative rancor, it's clear that a new immigration 
law will be fashioned before the mid-term elections. The business
community will likely get its way on guest worker permits, while
hardliners will get some secure-border-measure for the Minuteman
militia to test. Driver's licenses and English-language requirements
seem possible.

Still, it will be a serious mistake for our political leaders to
ignore the special status that a small percentage of the Latino
population enjoys.

Such is the result of the "dry feet/wet feet" policy, rooted in 
the outdated 1966 act. It goes against what we tell fleeing masses 
about American democracy. At best it insures the full benefit 
of citizenship to a desperate few. At worst, it smacks of
state-sanctioned, ethnic prejudice creating a caste system 
among Latinos and other wannabe citizens.

Contact Rhonda B. Graham, a News Journal editorial writer, at
rgraham@ delawareonline.com 


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