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Cubans Use Parks to Come Ashore


    In the Southwest, illegal immigrants and illicit drugs are funneled into the United States through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Coronado National Memorial, just to name two gateways.
     In the South, Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks are entry points for Cubans looking for a new life in the United States.
    During the last week of February, 56 Cubans reached the beach at Dry Tortugas while 46 were found on Cape Sable in Everglades. In each case the immigrants were taken into U.S. custody but not expected to be returned to Cuba.
     "So far this year, 121 Cuban migrants have made 'dry foot' in Dry Tortugas National Park," says Chief Ranger Bonnie Foist. "The Cuban Readjustment Act, also known as the 'wet-foot/dry-foot' policy, allows Cuban migrants to remain in the United States if they make it to U.S. soil.
    "Dry Tortugas has been dealing with the Cuban migrant issue since 2004. Over that period, more than 1,700 migrants have landed in the park," she adds. "These landings are significant park events and require considerable staff and time to handle due to the logistics of coordinating transportation and transfer..."
    Where's the Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security when you need them?


Borders, borders, borders; it's not just a book store anymore. Kurt, I've finally finished my 4-part series of essays on Locke and against property rights. I can't help thinking of what I talk about there when I read about this.

C'mon, Jim, "Barnes and Noble" just doesn't sound the same... Glad to hear you've wrapped up Locke. Definitely something I want to read to get your spin on his ideas (or should it be his "ideals"?). As for the ongoing immigration problems in the Southwest and Florida, they are problems that have yet to see a logical solution. Can we still be a country open to all-comers, no matter how they get here? How do we handle the strain on health care, Social Security, et al? I'm not espousing either a total ban or a total open-door policy, I'm just wondering how we'll solve this ongoing dilemma.

Kurt, I've bit my tongue on these topics because I will get extremely angry very fast (and then I turn into the Incredible Hulk, which might be amusing but is embarrassing here at work); I don't think it takes much to figure out what I believe given that I am an anarchist. I think that what I've written about in great length in the essays would start to get at a lot of the thinking behind my strong passions. The essays are not about immigration, but they could have been. Peppered through my blog, I've written quite a bit about immigrant issues as they relate to things happening in the DC area, even covering a workshop of the Woodbridge Worker's Committee (a labor collective mostly of immigrants in Northern Virginia) this past weekend. Jim

IMHO The use of the Rangers "staff and time to handle due to the logistics of coordinating transportation and transfer..." is a wonderful use of resources. The problem with immigration is not the immigrants themselves, but an ongoing narrowing, negative fear based view (smells like racism) our government has taken on folks from other countries and immigration. Until this prejudice mindset changes there will be no solution. To blame the "strain on health care, Social Security, et al?" on immigrants is silly and typical of our government’s refusal to take responsibility.

I'd have to disagree that having NPS personnel in charge of rounding up illegal immigrants is a "wonderful use of resources." As I've been noting for going on two years now, the Park Service is terribly understaffed and over-burdened. Rangers are hired to work in the parks on park-related issues, not to be tasked with immigration duties. Under the current administration, the Park Service is doing Homeland Security work to the tune of $40 million, with no dollar-for-dollar increase in its budget to offset that cost. In other words, the agency has had to pirate its other funds to pay for this work. That said, immigration is a very thorny problem. It's not viewed as a problem solely by the federal government, but also by state and local governments, school systems that are burdened not only with additional students but with having to hire ESL teachers, and hospitals whose emergency rooms treat these (and other domestic indigents) individuals who often have no health insurance and no way to pay for the service. As I said earlier, please don't interpret these statements as a clear signal that I'm anti-immigration. I just think it's a serious problem that needs to be seriously addressed.

Living in the southwest, having traveled the border, national forests/parks, talked with and listened to border guards and land owners, Governors and Representatives (on both sides of the border) and those other folks "protecting" our border (minutemen?) one can not but be involved. Our Border Patrol is also terribly understaffed and over-burdened. Our Federal Government/Homeland Security fear and loathing of these issues are of no help. I agree that these issues need to be seriously addressed. There is a great need for more citizens to voice their opinions at the local level. Issues with our school systems, hospitals etc. having to do with immagration is just a small part of a very large and ages long ongoing problem. I believe ESL is a very good thing. The "having to" in your statement concerns me a bit :-)

It's also intersting to note how differently the illegal immigrants from Cuba are treated compared to the illegals from other parts of Latin America. Could it have anything to do with the heavy Republican leaning of the Miami Cuban community?

The law treats Cubans differently because they are escaping from a brutal repressive dictatorship and are not coming solely to make more money.

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