South Florida Confidential: Upper Keys Times Blows The Whistle On Refugee Scam
A remarkable report in a Florida Keys newspaper about
several Cubans claiming to have landed by boat may have
uncovered a massive benefit fraud scam by refugees
receiving government hand-outs of up to $8,000 per
Upper Keys Times, a local weekly newspaper in
Key Largo, Florida, reported that a group of six Cubans
claimed they had just come ashore on January 23 at the
docks of the
Caribbean Club at mile marker 104 of the Florida
Keys highway. (“Cubans land at Caribbean Club” by
Sheridan Woods, Upper Keys Times, January 27, 2004.)
But according to a
U.S. Border Patrol agent quoted in the story,
“not one person outside witnessed anyone coming ashore.”
In fact, a patron reported seeing the same group
walking in front of the business earlier.
The Upper Keys Times also reported
that, although the group said that they were seeking
political asylum, the Border Patrol refused to take them
into custody. The Border Patrol advised them to go to
the (government agency
formerly known as the) Immigration and
Naturalization Service facility in Miami instead.
Why would these unknown persons—presumably foreign
nationals from Cuba—go through the trouble of faking an
illegal entry into the United States at the Florida
Upper Keys Times writer Sheridan Woods solved
the mystery of the phony Cuban rafters with a little
help from an anonymous source. She writes:
“A former law enforcement
officer, speaking on conditions of anonymity, told the
Times that `all you had to do is look at their
appearance. They were well dressed, completely dry, not
sunburned, and were wearing all American-looking
clothing and shoes.
“`It`s a scam that
happens every day in this country,` he said.
“He explained these
people are already living here as illegal aliens and
they do this to get the money and benefits that come
with asylum. They take the money, and because nothing
is stopping them from going back to Cuba, they return to
their country and live very well.
“`When they are out of
money they do it all over again,` the source said.
“The confidential source
told the newspaper that if they go to the INS, they will
not be refused since they have no U.S. identification
and they speak only Spanish. They will be given the
benefits, and the INS [will] start a file on
“He said seeking asylum
gives them more than just the right to a green card. If
they are granted asylum the refugees will be given
$8,000 per person, seven tax-free years in the United
States and full medical benefits.
“They basically get
everything an American citizen gets and more, and it has
now become an issue of Homeland Security,” he said.
“The confidential source
said they are simply taking advantage of our government
on a state and federal level and taxing all our
Three cheers for
Sheridan Woods and the anonymous law enforcement
The phony Cuban rafter story supports the
investigative work on refugee resettlement done
last year by syndicated columnist
Iraqi POWS Off American Dole” by Michelle Malkin,
April 1, 2003) Malkin wrote:
“As a result, an
estimated 6,000 enemy Iraqi soldiers have resettled in
the U.S. at
public expense since 1993. Their welcome gifts
included air travel, Medicaid, job and language-training
assistance, health care,
Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
Refugee Cash Assistance, and other welfare and
housing benefits worth about $7,000 per person.”
Catching the phony Cuban rafters red-handed at the
Caribbean Club may have revealed merely the tip of a
refugee fraud iceberg.
The cash windfall refugees receive from unwitting
American taxpayers might also explain why the price of
alien smuggling from Cuba is at least $8,000 per
head – also according to the Upper Keys Times
story. The price is right, considering that the
successful refugee is expecting just as much in
benefits at the end of the journey.
So hats off to a local weekly newspaper for telling
the truth about immigration fraud—doing the job most
American newspapers won`t do.
Unfortunately, the Upper Keys Times didn`t
start posting its archived stories on the internet until
sometime after the January 27 issue. But it`s posted
letters about the story.
In a quaint Florida Keys twist on the “we are a
nation of immigrants” theme, one angry Hispanic
invoked Ponce de Leon to justify illegal
Hispanic immigration! Makes a pleasant change from the
usual Statue of Liberty
stuff, doesn`t it?
Anyway, why not thank the Upper Keys Times and
Sheridan Woods [e-mail
Rebekah Mills, Upper Keys Times publisher]
for an immigration coverage job well done.
Great investigative journalism can come from
anywhere—even a weekly newspaper on an island paradise.