David Rieff’s article in the New York Times Magazine, “Will Little Havana Go Blue?,” sketches the politics of the
“My father was a
But this quote from Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, where he discusses the Bush Administration’s 2004 restrictions on Cuban American family visits, really caught my eye:
“First of all, in 2004, we had realized that unrestricted remittances had become a cash cow for the Castro regime. As for the travel limitations, I would never criticize anyone for visiting family members. But that wasn’t the problem. What you had was a situation where people would come to
“What makes Cubans different from Haitians who come here or anyone else,” Rubio went on, “if they go back and forth, that is to say, if they’re not exiles at all? In that case, why should Cubans be any different? The whole structure would have unraveled had something not been done.”
I get Mr. Rubio’s point, but I have to say that the only threat that I have seen to that “structure” of immigration policies – the Cuban Adjustment Act, the policy of admitting Cubans who arrive with no visa and no claim to asylum, the government benefits given to Cuban immigrants – was in the Senate twelve years ago, and it went nowhere.
To Mr. Rubio, if Cubans come to
The real problem is that it puts in question whether Cubans are “exiles” to begin with, and it threatens “the whole structure” of immigration policies toward Cubans. So rather than accept that some Cuban Americans view themselves as exiles and others as immigrants, and rather than contemplate a (highly unlikely) debate over those immigration policies, Mr. Rubio opts for limiting the freedom of Cuban Americans in order to force conformity.
Of course, it’s a false conformity, as anyone who has seen the Cuban American traffic in the
The message seems to be, “I won’t criticize you for visiting your family, but I will use the law to stop you from doing so, because we’re exiles and we all have to act that way.”
[Photo of people waiting for arriving passengers at