www.ambientes.us FEBRUARY / FEBRERO 2006
WE MUST TREAT IMMIGRANTS HUMANELY AND DEVELOP A LONG
TERM SOLUTION TO ILLEGAL ENTRY TO THE US
By Herb Sosa
Itâ€™s happened again. A boatload of 31Cuban immigrants raced to reach the US shore on Thursday,
October 13, 2004. The Coast Guard spotted them. A chase ensued. The Cuban boat was chased by the
Coast Guard cutter 43 miles South of Key West, resulting in the Cuban boats capsize and ejection of all its
freedom seekers. 30 survived. A 6 year old boy drowned. This is unacceptable.
On September 23rd a homemade boat left shores of communist Cuba seeking the freedom of the US, only to
be intercepted by the coastguard within eyesight of Haulover Beach, just North of Miami Beach. Again the
boat was repeatedly rammed by two Coast Guard cutters. Again the immigrants, were thrown overboard and
days later, sent back to Cuba to meet an uncertain future.
Just days into 2006, 15 Cuban migrants reached the historic Flagler Railroad Bridge, which runs along side
of the 7 mile bridge, connecting several of the Florida Keys leading to Key West. They made it to the pilings
underneath the bridge, were able to contact their relatives with the assistance of a passerby with a cell
phone, but before their relative could reach their location, the Coast Guard detained them and repatriated the
to Cuba. The logic for this inhumane act by the Guard was that since the bridge has been partially
dismantled and now used as a fishing pier and not continuously connected to land, it does not qualify as
reaching US soil, as required by the Wet Foot/Dry Foot immigration rule for Cubans.
In 2006, with the incredible level of technology, video and documentation equipment available at our & our
governments fingertips, are barbaric cat & mouse chases, water guns & ramming homemade vessels in the
open sea, within view of our beach chairs and balconies the best way to enforce the Wet Foot/Dry Foot law
and protect our shores? Is building a wall along our borders that will no doubt be built with the strength,
sweat and labor of the very people it is intended to keep out of the US, the answer to our immigration crisis?
It is time to review our approach and policies towards Latin America. For decades we have allowed and even
facilitated the leadership in these countries to be oppressive, dictatorial and oppressive. We have ignored
the economic and political climate in Latina America long enough. We have treated Latin America as a less
than equal neighbor, beneath us in every way.
If illegal immigration in the US is to be controlled and our national security and borders secured, we must first
develop a real and balanced dialogue, establish long term economic incentives in those countries to
encourage people to stay, establish a one-time amnesty for the 11 million-plus illegal immigrants currently in
the US, and then enforce our borders and immigration policies, evenly, fairly and humanely â€“ not with water
cannons, barb wired fences and unbalanced and dangerous hunts.
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