Florida, Pretend It Is The Year 2000 As Our “Elian Gonzalez equivalents” Get Deported
By DeeDee Garcia Blase
It is unfortunate how some Latino Republicans have forgotten the custody and immigration status of a young Cuban boy, Elián González and at the center of a heated 2000 controversy. We have a new controversy that affects the entire Country during another key Presidential election cycle affecting those of Mexican descent or other Latin groups who do not receive Cuban amnesty under the Cuban Adjustment Act. Those of Mexican descent comprise of almost 70% of the entire Latino population while those of Cuban descent make up of only 3% of the Hispanic population, yet we see Cuban-Americans trying to speak on behalf of the entire Latino population. This is an outrage particularly when we don’t see them empathize on an issue that is near and dear to our hearts – the immigration issue.
We rejoiced hearing González being spared his life, but many Latinos throughout the nation continue to mourn over Joaquin Luna, an undocumented teen DREAMer who took his life because he felt he had no hope. Oddly and contrasting the two boys, Gonzalez was found Thanksgiving Day 1999 clinging to an inner tube three miles off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, while Luna took his life the day after Thanksgiving Day 2011. We are asking Florida to remember our Joaquin Luna the same way we remember the precious Elián González.
Jose Marti was a Cuban Patriot and philosopher who fought for social justice and is well respected in Florida. A very good quote by Marti that Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart should live by is:
“To busy oneself with what is futile when one can do something useful, to attend to what is simple when one has the mettle to attempt what is difficult, is to strip talent of its dignity.”
This quote especially applies to Diaz-Balart as he gets exposed for not only his immigration hypocrisy, but his economic hypocrisy, too. After supporting Mitt Romney for 2012 President, Diaz-Balart said, “On immigration, yeah, we have big-time differences…he is very much a hard-liner, and that’s not going to change. So we will continue to disagree on many aspects of it. But on creating jobs, on national security, on getting the economy going, he’s just the right guy at this moment.”
Diaz-Balart underestimates the intelligence of Latinos living outside of Florida. He cannot claim to be for free markets and Capitalism when he supports Romney’s protectionist and isolationist policies towards immigrants. The economy is important to Latinos, however, Latinos know and understand that immigrants add to jobs and build entire communities. In fact, business owners rely on competitive immigrant labor and this helps keep consumer costs low which is valuable to Americans during a time of rising inflation.
According to the CATO Institute, “Without immigrant workers, the most likely scenario is that we would simply produce less agricultural output as a nation. This would mean not only a direct loss of manual, on-the-farm jobs but a ripple effect of job losses in upstream and downstream sectors such as management, processing, packaging, distribution, and marketing. According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 3.1 related jobs off the farm for every job on the farm. Eliminating the on-farm jobs would put at risk many more jobs paying middle-class wages and employing native-born American workers.” CATO Institute research also shows that when immigrants move in, Americans move up.
Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen should recall what occurred with the Florida Governor Rick Scott when he tried to introduce a law in Florida that resembled Arizona’s draconian law. Scott’s isolationism contributed to his plunging popularity to record lows. Numerous business owners and Florida farmers who rely on competitive labor fought against Scott’s isolationist and protectionist views because they rely on immigrant labor. The same isolationists who are behind Governor Scott are the same who are behind Romney.
Cuban Republican politicians in Florida appear to be increasingly out of touch with the Mexican-Americans who account for a sizable chunk of the Latino population pie. They are driving a deep wedge particularly when they refuse to withdraw their endorsement of Romney when he received the endorsement of Kris Kobach. Kobach has ties to John Tanton who is a known white nationalist and contributed to the Pioneer Fund.
In 2007, Romney stated the law should be enforced against the 12 million illegals here now. In 2006, he stated the 12 million illegal immigrants cannot stay forever. And in 2012, he committed the ultimate Latino sin when he stated he would veto the DREAM Act if he were president. He chose to reject our youth.
Romney chose to take a populist approach while demonizing Latino immigrants for his political expediency.
Two organizations issued an action alert calling for the Florida Hispanic Republicans to withdraw their endorsement of Mitt Romney soon after he promised to veto the DREAM Act. Somos Republicans and Presente.org issued action items exposing Romney as a person who has no Christian compassionate conservative views towards Latin youth. In fact, SOMOS REPUBLICANS, the largest Hispanic Republican group in the nation, promised to veto Romney at the polls.
Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart claim to be supportive of immigration rights when in all actuality they seem to give us lip service during a very difficult Latino era (post Arizona’s SB 1070 draconian law). They must treat anti-immigrant and anti-Latino politicians such as Mitt Romney like kryptonite.
At some point in the future, will Cuban-Americans need a sizable Latin chunk of support via Mexican-Americans in order to push for a free Cuba? Or will the Hispanic Republicans in Florida continue to drive a wedge that goes against what most Latinos are in support of?