Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wet-Foot Dry-Foot (The Exception to Logic)

   People from countries whose economies face difficulties try to find better situations in other countries every day.  Here in the United States, this immigration has helped create a diverse society after centuries of accepting immigrants.  This is not to say that each group of immigrants have been welcomed with open arms.  There are always campaigns of propaganda that although divided by decades, have a similar theme.  Immigrants are portrayed as dirty, lawless, and of course taking our (Americans) jobs.  Of course immigrants will look for work, but rarely do they "take jobs" away from people.  There are plenty of lawless Americans but it seems easy to target immigrants since they are "different" in many people's minds.  What people often forget is that they too are able to trace their roots to other lands and often are here because their families were looking for a better life once upon a time.
   To come to this country from one that is considered an underdeveloped country a visa is necessary.  Americans who have not themselves had to deal with the visa process are easily led to believe that it is a simple process that if one follows the rules he or she will be granted a visa and happily come to the United States.  This is a half truth.  Certainly a person who has a visa has gone through the correct process and are entitled to come.  But what many people fail to realize is that most people are turned down even though they have jumped through all of the hoops and paid a thousand dollars or more. 
   Most Cubans who have visa  applications go through a similar process as others, although their are certain programs such as the family reunification program meant to speed up the backlog of applicants.  But there is another policy in place that is a sort of official unofficial process that is extended to Cubans and Cubans only.  It is the "wet-foot dry-foot" policy that states that even without a visa, a Cuban can stay if he or she sets foot on dry land in the U.S.  This is a policy created in the environment of propaganda that the U.S. has pursued against Cuba for the past five decades.  The rationalization for this "exception" is based on the idea that Cubans are subjected to an oppressive government.  Even if this were true, would it be the only oppressive government?  Why wouldn't this type of policy cover others from countries that are truly oppressive? 
   Images of Cubans trying to cross the sea in all kinds of vessels, from converted cars to regular boats, are broadcast to the American people to try and reinforce the idea that Cubans are desperate to "escape" the island.  Why then are similar images not broadcast of Haitians making the same dangerous journey?  Well in spite of the terrible living conditions and violence, both political and not, it isn't in the U.S.'s interest to show the desperation of Haitians as long as they have a government in place that is more or less obedient to Washington.   In fact the only true repression in Cuba is the repression of American corporate desires to control the destiny of Cuba.  That kind of repression will not be tolerated by Washington.
   Images of Mexicans and Central Americans dying in the desert trying to make it to the U.S. aren't shown.  We are just fed the line about those that have made it and are living undocumented and in she shadows are dangerous and need to be found and sent away.  These people aren't coming for political reasons, they are coming for the same reasons as the Cubans who are given political refugee status upon their arrival, economics.
   It is logical to require a visa process in order to immigrate to the U.S., but it is not logical to leave the door unlocked for a particular group of people with the untrue excuse of political repression.  This policy is a dangerous temptation for those willing to try.  Many people have died trying to play this game.  It is unfair to tempt people to risk their lives for the sole purpose of continuing a propaganda war against Cuba.  It also opens the door to a huge illegal business of human trafficking.  Ironically, the majority of people profiting from this horrible game of life or death are the Cubans living in Miami.  They charge upwards of ten thousand dollars for the reckless endeavor.  The U.S. government is fully aware of this and every now and then someone gets in trouble just as during prohibition the police would bust an illegal alcohol vendor only to allow the majority to go untouched. 
   In the tangled web of politics woven by the U.S. government in regards to Cuba, this policy is one that needs to be addressed.  It is logical not to tempt death and it is something that shows the hypocrisy of how the U.S. deals with Cuba.  Doing away with this policy would greatly reduce the number of people attempting to cross the sea in such a manner.  Doing away with this policy would save lives.  But along with doing away with this policy, the U.S. should do what it hasn't been willing to do up until this point, grant the number of visas it has agreed to.  By not granting visas that we have agreed to we only cause more people to try to take advantage of the exception too logic only extended to Cubans.  The idea that people aren't allowed to leave Cuba is a farce, unless what is meant is that most who apply for visas are denied by the United States. 

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