How did Marco Rubio or any Cuban for that matter, become the face of immigration reform? Unlike most immigrants, Cubans don't have to wait years for a visa, or sneak across the border illegally. Once they tag American soil, they're fast-tracked to legal residency, with a clear path to citizenship. So I think it took a lot of brass for Rubio to boast about the harshness of immigration reform on Fox News Sunday,
"The alternative we've created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate.”
His attitude is ridiculous. The existing system is already filled with unreasonable barriers and impractical terms for entering the country legally and bringing undocumented workers into society. The goal for reformers should be to make it easier for people already living in the United States without required documentation to become citizens.
The Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act, initially signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on November 2, 1966 applied to any native or citizen of Cuba who has been admitted into the United States after January 1, 1959. Any Cuban that had resided in the United States for at least one year was admissible as a permanent resident. To come here legally, most immigrant laborers would have to wait decades for a visa.
So, I found it disgusting when Rubio went on to say,
"They don't qualify for any federal benefits -- no food stamps, no welfare, no Obamacare...They will have to stay in that status until at least 10 years elapses ... and then all they get is a chance to apply for a green card."This is little more than “attrition through enforcement" or what Mitt Romney called “self-deportation"; a divisive and punitive strategy conceived by immigration restrictionists and pursued by opportunistic politicians. The strategy does little more than undermine basic human rights, devastate local economies, and place unnecessary burdens on lawful immigrants. Besides, according to the Pew Hispanic Center,
“nearly two-thirds of the unauthorized adult immigrants in the United States have lived in this country for at least 10 years, and nearly half are parents of minor children,”most of whom are U.S. citizens. Immigrants, especially families with school-age children are here to stay.
I don’t even know what to say about such self-serving hypocrisy.
Federal assistance for Cuban refugees began in 1960 under President Eisenhower. Under President Kennedy, the “Migration and Refugee Assistance Act,” enacted in 1962, authorized appropriations in excess of $1.3 billion of direct financial assistance. Cubans were eligible for public assistance, Medicare, free English courses, scholarships, and low-interest college loans. Some banks even pioneered loans for exiles who did not have collateral or credit but received help in getting business loans that enabled many Cuban Americans to start up their own businesses. The program ended in July 1994, after more than three decades of providing assistance to thousands of refugees.
A Little Background
Prior to the Cuban Revolution, the population was characterized by chronic unemployment and deep poverty. More than 40 percent of the workforce was either underemployed or unemployed. American monopolies had control over Cuba's national resources, owned the best land, dominated the country's entire financial system, all electric power production, and most industry. Only 50% of the children received an education.
After the Revolution, the Cuban government seized farms, and nationalized the land, businesses, and companies owned by upper and middle-class Cubans. That same year, Castro nationalized all American holdings and the United States responded by freezing all Cuban assets on American soil, severing diplomatic ties and tightening its embargo on Cuba, which is still in place today. Cuba turned to the Soviet Union for support. And that is when the exodus began. There was Operation Peter Pan, the Mariel Boatlifts and rescue operations that involved the U.S. Coast Guard and every division of the military.
The special considerations accorded to Cubans are especially hard to defend now that travel restrictions have been relaxed in both the United States and Cuba, allowing most Cubans to come and go at will. While, I have no issue with Cubans coming to America, I do feel they should play by the same rules as immigrants from other countries. And since they don’t have to, the last person who should be qualified to set the immigration standards for others should be a Cuban.