Monday, July 16, 2007

...and viva la Yuma

A comment from a reader that is worth highlighting, on an almost-never-discussed aspect of Cuban immigration to the United States:

“What Thompson and others should be concerned about is the preferential treatment Cuban exiles still get. One of my aunts, who’s in her 70s, decided to stay in the US after receiving a visa to visit her children in the US. After two years, she gets $600 for rent expenses and over $200 in food stamps. My mother, who worked in the US for over twenty years, gets a little less through social security. Is this fair? No wonder Cuban citizens will do anything to get here! Isn't this paradise for my aunt and others like her?”

8 comments:

leftside said...

Can anyone explain where the rent expenses ($600) come from? Just curious if these payments come out of existing housing funds (Section 8, etc.) or if Cubans have a special housing program? Also, in addition to the food stamps, I have heard newly arrived Cubans recieve job training assistance, English language help and other forms of assistance that other migrants get none of.

Of course this is a critical reason why Cubans feel they'll be welcomed and well taken care of if they take the risky trip to Florida (certainly encouraging more deaths and desertions than would normally be the case).

Anonymous said...

There are many programs for the inmigrants in the USA, all this talk about cubans having it so good is pure crap. Where is all this finger pointing at cubans coming from?

Sometimes envy and "mala leche" against a group is so obvious,that is sickenning!.

Phil Peters said...

I just thought the reader’s comment about his aunt who overstayed a visitor visa was interesting and deserved attention just as a matter of information.

I don’t know for sure if Cubans receive benefits that others do not; maybe a reader knows for sure and can fill us in.

leftside said...

Anon, Cubans do have it good, very good - particularly compared to any normal (illegal) immigrant, who is ineligable for ANY government funded benefits - or any normal legal immigrant who is not a refugee.

Cubans and certain legal Haitian entrants are lumped with all legitimate "refugees" under the Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

From their website: ORR’s mission is to assist refugees and other special populations... in obtaining economic and social self-sufficiency in their new homes in the United States. To do this, ORR funds and facilitates a variety of programs that offer, among other benefits and services, cash and medical assistance, employment preparation and job placement, skills training, English language training, social adjustment and aid for victims of torture.

Cubans make up nearly one of every three people assisted under these programs. In 2004, there were 21,134 Cuban "entrants" and 2,959 Cubans admitted as "refugees." That same year, when a military invasion and coup took place in Haiti, we admitted just 333 Haitians under the program...

Anonymous said...

Well, cubans have a refugee status, the rest do not. Coming from a comunist country is a completly different situation. If they have it better, Good for them!

leftside said...

But, of course, 99% of Cuban migrants are not anything that could classicly be called asylum seekers or political refugees. Except in the good ole USofA - thanks to S. Florida politics.

Agustin Farinas said...

Leftside seems to forget that Russian Jews from the old USSR also were classified as refugees, and received help from the US government. The US law says that if you touch US soil you are eligble to stay and get assitance, if you don't like it, then change the law. All other illegal inmigrants are illegal simply because they are not covered under that umbella of the law. The law is clear; if you reach US soil you can stay.

leftside said...

Yes, our country has often used refugee status as a poitical weapon... so what?

The law will hopefully be changed very soon. In fact, I would think this would be a good place for the US to start de-escalating the still very cold war against Cuba. Symbolically, it would have a great effect - and it would save many lives.