Cubans Overrunning Florida Keys. Guess Who's Paying For It?

[Also by Juan Mann:


Forty years ago, the 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act began the transformation of America. It opened the floodgates of mass immigration by allowing virtually unlimited family petitioning from around the world.

But, following closely on its heels, the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) was to have an even more concentrated regional impact on South Florida.

And that impact continues unabated today – indeed, perhaps more now than ever.

The 1965 Immigration Act in effect signaled the start of an endless family petitioning race to see which country could pack more of its people into America the fastest. Mexico is currently winning.

But the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act created such a wide-open "come 'on down" system of special preference that newly-arrived Cubans didn't even have to worry about the family petitioning system. Whether or not they already have family members already in America, the CAA virtually guarantees eligible newly-arrived Cubans a brand-new "green card" within a year of setting foot in America.

Like it or not, the special treatment of Cuban nationals has been a constant of U.S. immigration policy since 1966.

Among other things on VDARE.COM, I've been following the ongoing scandal of the non-implementation of summary expedited removal authority granted in 1996 by Congress – through Section 235(b) of the Immigration Act.

In 2002, I was on the case of the small enforcement victory when the Bush Administration expanded these summary removal provisions to include aliens arriving "by sea."

But what I didn't notice right away in 2002 was that Cubans need not worry about the Section 235(b) process at all, since their special exemption was built right into the federal regulation the whole time.

Ironically, I posted the details of the Cuban exemptions from "by sea" expedited removal right here on VDARE.com:


  • 11/11/02—Notice Designating Aliens Subject to Expedited Removal under Section(b)(1)(A)(iii) -- "Furthermore, expedited removal proceedings, however, will not be initiated against Cuban citizens who arrive by sea because it is longstanding U.S. policy to treat Cubans differently from other aliens. See, e.g., Cuban Adjustment Act, Pub. L. No. 89-732 (1966) (allowing any native or citizen of Cuban who is inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status after one year)."" 

It just goes to show—there's always much more to any piece of immigration legislation or federal regulation than meets the eye!

Meanwhile down in South Florida, a VDARE.com reader reports (via e-mail on September 29) on the consequences of policy-driven Cuban immigration and non-deportation exceptions.

The VDARE.com reader writes:

"We have officially been overrun down here.

"Cubans are streaming in at huge levels, while our manpower and assets have been slashed. We are approaching 450 new welfare recipient Cubans who have arrived in the last 2 WEEKS. It's time to call for a 'broken arrow,' like that Vietnam movie."

(According to the Wikipedia definition, "Broken arrow" is "a code word used to request close air support from all available aircraft when a ground position is in extreme danger of being overrun by enemy troops. This was last used in the Vietnam War, and is a plot element in movies such as We Were Soldiers.")

The reader also attached a powerful proposed Letter to the Editor arguing for the abolition of the Cuban Refugee Act as "an outdated relic of the cold war":

"The never-ending wave of Cuban 'refugees' on South Florida has taken its toll on Florida residents in many forms."The most notable, school overcrowding, more tax money spent for English as a Second Language classes, massive health care costs, housing assistance and the impact on the criminal justice system."

"According to Coast Guard Key West, from June 1st to September 18, 2005, approximately 750 Cuban 'refugees' have landed in the Keys. The majority of these landings occur on uninhabited rocks such as the Dry Tortugas or the Marquesas Keys."

"In the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, we see American citizens who are desperate to receive food, water, shelter and other basic human needs."In the Florida Keys, in a cruel twist of fate, we see undocumented Cuban nationals who have illegally entered into the U.S., and now will be receiving taxpayer-funded refugee benefits – the same type of benefits that our fellow citizens in New Orleans and Mississippi so desperately need."

"To add insult to injury, late-night-arriving Cuban refugees who can't be driven to Miami, are put up at the Holiday Inn, at taxpayer expense in the form of a contract with a Miami based church group.

"As the U.S. government struggles to meet the challenge [of hurricane relief], the residents of the Florida Keys struggle to make sense with the constant surge of Cuban "refugees" and the taxpayer-funded benefits extended to them in the case of "dry feet"."Refugee benefits include immediate placement on Medicaid, housing assistance, lump sum cash assistance, food stamps, Federal grants, Supplemental Social Security (age eligible) and a myriad of other taxpayer funded social services."A list of refugee benefits can be found at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement website.

". . . the definition of a Refugee [Section 101(a)(42)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act] is 'a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.'"

"These Cubans do not meet the above definition.

"The proof of this is the fact that tens of thousands of Cuban nationals living in South Florida, green card holders, routinely apply for and receive a 29-day travel permit from the U.S. State Department which allowed them to travel to Cuba."

"These are the same 'refugees' who were supposedly fleeing for their lives from Cuba. Then they want to travel back and forth but still retain the status and benefits of a 'refugee'." The number of these supposed 'refugees' who would return to and from Cuba got so high, that President Bush had to enact legislation limiting these return trips to once every 3 years."

"Cubans are economically disadvantaged migrants." Cubans are coming to the U.S. because there is no work in Cuba, as in most of Latin America."

"Simply put, legitimate 'refugees' are people who are fleeing from their home countries for fear of death and persecution." Legitimate refugees do not travel back and forth."

The VDARE.com reader also points out that Florida state representative David Rivera (R-Miami) introduced a bill in the legislature in 2004 that "would punish Cuban Refugees who traveled back to Cuba by cutting off access to Medicaid, Food stamps and housing assistance."

Rivera's bill was predictably condemned by the Treason Lobby's fellow-travelers in Cuba as "a half-baked scheme."

Final thought: given the magnet of immigration benefit fraud and the accompanying corruption of the refugee and asylum system, why would a newly-minted lawful permanent resident (former refugee or asylee) immediately travel back to the country from which he or she supposedly fled because of "persecution"?

Answer: to arrange for more family members to come to the United States, of course!—under the family-chain immigrant petitioning made possible by the 1965 Immigration Act.

Abolition of the special preferences of the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Revocation of status and benefits to 'refugees' who travel back-and-forth to their native countries.

Ideas whose time has come!

Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of DeportAliens.com.