Saturday, August 19, 2006

Smuggling Not-so Illegal Immigrants

One of the oddest results of our Cuba policy (and there are many, many odd results) is the human trafficking game in the Florida Straits, which the Christian Science Monitor notes is back in business after a brief pause in the wake of Castro's illness. Just like with any other group of would-be immigrants without visas, there are the desperate refugees, border patrols (carried out mainly by the Coast guard), smugglers with their exorbitant fees, high speed chases, and even violence and death. Ah, but the ending can be very different. We have a "wet foot, dry foot," rule - Cubans caught at sea get sent home, while Cubans who make it to land are rarely sent back, and can become legal permanent residents of the United States in one year. This gives a whole new meaning to "race to the border!" U.S. authorities are making a show of cracking down, but as long as Fidel is alive and Florida is a swing state, the policy will remain in place. So welcome to America, our unnamed 20 new residents. The Florida Straits' most dangerous game continues.

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