In response to the recent announcement by President Obama to end the “wet foot/dry foot policy, Maria Rodriguez, executive director at the Florida Immigrant Coalition stated:
“We are concerned about President Obama’s move to cancel the “wet foot/dry foot” policy. While the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) has been critical of the unequal treatment of Cuban and Haitian immigrants and families, calling this “white foot/black foot” policy unfair, the truth is that ending it doesn’t aid us, in fact, it hurts tens of thousands of South Florida’s families.
Many aspects of the U.S. immigration system are historically rooted in racism or politics, rather than on international norms, logic or the interest of our families and economy. We have been clamoring for reform to fix an outdated, disparate and illogical system that tears families apart, thwarts economic growth and burdens us with a costly detention/deportation profiteering machinery. But in the absence of that reform, restricting family reunification and freedom of movement for any group hurts us all. Cuban families may soon suffer the same fate of many other undocumented or deported immigrants. While we seek equal opportunity, we don’t want lesser opportunity.
Whether Cuban or Haitian, Mexican or Puerto Ricans, political or economic refugees or dislocated citizens, families will continue to arrive to Florida as a result of global inequities, state violence or environmental degradation. Their success in their new home is our success. The political and economic power of the Cuban community, which has contributed to the growth of South Florida, is partly due to exemplary immigrant integration and refugee resettlement support, the Cuban Adjustment Act, which for now, remains intact.
Family unity, transnational mobility and economic growth should be encouraged. Migration is a historical and natural phenomena. People move. Ultimately, FLIC defends our right to migrate while also seeking to address root causes of migration to defend our right not to migrate.”