Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sen. Thompson on Cuban migrants (updated)

Pre-candidate for President and former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson appeared in South Carolina yesterday. (Rui has the YouTube at Herejias y Caipirinhas, and the AP story is here.) In his speech, he discussed the immigration bill that seems to have died in the Senate (he opposed it) and about security on our southern border. Many who cross the southern border come from terrorist states, he said, including more than 1,000 Cubans in 2005. Then he said this:

“I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb.”

Ninoska, call your office.

Thompson is putting his finger on something interesting here.

The Administration calls Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.

Washington also maintains a policy of allowing Cubans who are illegal immigrants – those who arrive in U.S. territory, by boat or across the Mexican border, with no visa and no basis for an asylum claim – to come right in. (The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 has nothing to do with this practice, and it certainly does not require it. The Act does give Cubans who are here for one year an opportunity to acquire legal status, and they overwhelmingly avail themselves of that opportunity.)

You may agree or disagree with either policy, but it is hard to argue that the two are compatible. If Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism, the open-door policy toward Cuban migrants represents a huge danger to U.S. national security. It is an open invitation to Cuba to send operatives into the United States in the guise of normal migrants.

The treatment of Cubans is a glaring exception to border security policies that have been adopted in this Era of Homeland Security. My view is that it’s an exception that is made for humanitarian reasons, for political reasons, and because of inertia. I also believe that on the day that the U.S. government believes Cuba to be a real threat to our national security, through terrorism or otherwise, that exception will end.

In other words, the contradiction is tolerated because those who are concerned about U.S. national security know that the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism is meaningless.

Senator Thompson, previously of Montecristo fame, is clearly no fan of Fidel Castro. The fact that he frames a discussion of U.S. policy toward Cuban migrants in terms of migration policy and homeland security considerations, rather than Miami-Dade vote-seeking, is a very interesting sign.

[Update: Sen. Thompson issued a statement to clarify, offering reassurances but not really addressing what he said in South Carolina. Marc Masferrer comments on the issue and the clarification, sensing "something resembling pandering and rhetoric." At Babalu, they love the Senator, ignored his original statement, and ran his clarification verbatim.]

1 comment:

Mambi_Watch said...

Ha! What a hysterical paradox in these times we live.

I can assure you that if Fred Thompson does run for the presidential candidacy, he will be put into Ninoska's class of Cuba 101 (her own term).

Ninoska has mentioned this before on the radio because of her frustration with some of the Republican candidates and their "ignorance" on the Cuba issue, namely the hard-line position.

Just like McCain was grilled when he appeared on Radio Mambi, Thompson will also bend.

But, maybe this whole "state-sponsor of terrorism" thing will finally be revealed for all its BS.

Very interesting developments. Notice that the BabaluBlog has not commented on it yet. Thompson has been labeled by Val Prieto as "definitely my guy" for republican candidate.