Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cuban Migrants

Driving South Roosevelt this morning I spotted a car parked in the road - hard to miss actually!- and a crowd of people watching a boat maneuvering just off the seawall. It was a US Customs boat covered by a Coastguard Rigid Inflatable Boat and between them they seemed to be talking to a small outboard powered launch with two people in it. It's not uncommon for migrants to land in the Keys especially after a spell of settled weather. Last week at work we got calls from people on the beach who thought they were the first joggers to spot an abandoned Cuban chug (as the home made boats are called) washed up on the beach overnight. The migrants turned themselves in whe. They had landed and were doubtless already being processed at the Krome Detention Center outside Homestead prior to getting their eight thousand dollar welcome to the US check and the freedom to settle in their new country. These two off the beach this morning weren't so lucky as they never made it to the sand.

Stopping wasn't feasible for me as parking on a four lane state road isn't exactly my style and my lovely Android camera is rotten when it comes to telephotoing so the pictures aren't much but I thought you might care to see how they protect our shoreline from those pesky Cuban émigrés seeking a better life. I figured this might have been a Cuban landing owing to the large crowd of people waiting and watching. Frequently Cubans who have already made it to the US pay smugglers to bring their relatives over at about ten grand a head, but these two made it across themselves apparently and were stopped just feet from a new life.
The thing is, people who are smuggled aren't supposed to get to stay if caught, but if you get across the water on your own, by raft or home made boat you get to stay if you mange to physically land on US dirt. If you get caught before then, our mariners are required by our heartless politicians to take you back to Cuba and a hot time in jail. It's called the "wet foot - dry foot policy." Really - that's the official title dreamed up by our NSA powered elected leaders (brought to you by the richest people in the world who wouldn't be caught dead on a raft in the Gulf Stream). So when law enforcement finds a clump of immigrants standing at the southern tip of Duval Street with no boat the migrants say "our raft drifted away" thus proving they weren't smuggled. The obverse of this official Cuban migrant policy is that if you are a Black Haitian on a raft you don't get any kind of a migrant policy: you get sent home pronto. May the power of the Miami Cuban Voting Bloc never grow less. They are also the people who benefit from the crazy Cuban Embargo that allows contact with Cuba to pass only through their wallets.

I felt bad for the two would- arrivals still on the water a few feet from US dirt where we fat Americans were playing at removing a few excess calories. Those were my thoughts as I sailed by carrying my dog in luxury back to her middle class home firmly in the US.

Post Scriptum: The last I heard they actually made it to shore where the Border Patrol met with them and released them to live in the US. All's well that ends well.


Anonymous said...

A lot of employers would rather hire illegal immigrants for below minimum wages and no benefits what so ever only adds to more Americans being out of work. Granted these are low end jobs like washing dishes, landscaping, unskilled labor and what have you. People say that these are jobs Americans would not want to do so illegals do them. But if there were no illegals then Americans would take those jobs.

Illegals also add to the welfare and Medicaid rolls and bring an extra burden to an already over taxed system.

The Wet foot Dry foot policy should be abandoned. If people are found or stopped trying to get into the U.S. illegally, they should be treated as criminals and then sent back to their own countries.

If their country is so unbearable then it is up to them to change it and not add to our own economic issues.

Richard M said...

Good to hear that there was a positive ending to the story. Welcome to the U.S.!

Conchscooter said...

The definition of illegal when it comes to migration is pretty elastic. Cubans are legal. Giving them preferential it ethical? I don't think so but then the US has historically screwed Cuba since 1898.
That most illegals come to the US for work, not welfare is shown by the reverse migration following the economic crash. The Mexicans went home. And still we see no legal Americans picking crops in the fields.

Ottawa Rider said...

U.S. Immigration is a very contentious issue. As a Canadian, I will keep my opinion to myself BUT I will say that Canada is lucky not to have to deal with the issue much since most of our neighbours have an equal or better standard or living.

I was in Dry Tortugas last summer and spent a night on the island. One evening 20-30 migrants appeared on a small adjacent island (sand bar). They said their boat sank but they were all dry. Many of the Americans I was with thought they had been smuggled.

A few hours later the Coast Guard came to pick them up and take them to be processed.

Humans will do extraordinary things to escape bad situations.