Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sen. Marco Rubio addresses U.S. policies on Cuba, migration

Buried amid widespread calls that the young migrants fleeing to the southern U.S. border be returned home is a question of fairness with a strong Florida connection: If Cubans who flee their country are welcomed, why aren't those escaping gang violence and drug trafficking?

Sen. Marco Rubio says that's a valid question, even as he thinks that most of the border children should not stay.

"These issues of migration are very difficult because they involve, in many cases, very compelling stories," the Republican son of Cuban immigrants said in an interview with Florida reporters before Congress broke for the August recess. "And that has to be balanced with the right of a sovereign country to control the flow by which people enter. … Of all the issues I've faced in my years in both the Legislature and here, it poses probably the most wrenching humanitarian ones because no matter what you set the number at or what you set the process up as, you know that there are going to be compelling stories that you're not going to be able to address."

Cubans gets privileged status under the decades-old Cuban Adjustment Act. It has caused resentment among other immigrant groups and led to abuses. Some Cubans obtain legal residency in the United States but then travel back and forth to their homeland. And there is a growing trend of Cubans' avoiding the traditional entry via water (under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, those who are apprehended before stepping onto U.S. soil are returned) and going through Mexico.

Reuters recently reported that "more than 13,500 Cubans without the proper papers had tried to cross the southwestern U.S. border since Oct. 1, 2013, more than during all of the previous 12 months. The 12-month total was about 5,500 four years ago." They have a name: dusty-foot Cubans.

Rubio said: "I've never criticized anyone who wants to go back to Cuba to visit a loved one — their mother is dying, their children are there. What I do think is that if you come to this country and say you are in exile, fleeing oppression, and a year and day after you lived here, you travel back to Cuba 20, 30, 40 times a year, it really undermines that argument. And other groups look at that and say, 'They're no different than we are. Why are we treated differently?' That sort of travel puts at risk the status Cubans have, so I've always been open to re-examining that. …"

But Rubio concedes he has no plan. He talked about making changes during last year's immigration debate but did not seek to insert provisions into the sweeping bill he helped write.

Sen. Marco Rubio addresses U.S. policies on Cuba, migration 08/08/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 9:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Brian Ballard's lobbying shop in Washington get a big contract

    Blogs

    Ballard Partners, the Florida lobbying firm led by Brian Ballard, is quickly ramping up in Washington and just landed a high-profile contract: the government of Turkey.

  2. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  3. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  4. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]