Issue #59

Last Update September 23, 2008

National Wet Foot Dry Foot by Gert Innsry May 2, 2007  The Republican Party has been seriously split by the issue of illegal immigration, with President Bush, agribusiness and other industries, and Hispanics pushing for legalized worker entry and amnesty for those illegals still here, and the redneck and blue-collar right pressing for troops on the border, expulsion of illegals with no right of return, and a ban on illegals receiving education, emergency room care and other civilized amenities. Democrats, while leaning  toward leniency, have wisely kept out of the fight. There is a policy already in existence, put in place with active Republican support, which cold resolve the issue. It's called "wet foot dry foot". 

This policy states that if an illegal immigrant is intercepted at sea or otherwise outside the US borders, he or she will be returned to the country of origin. If, however, the illegal immigrant touches a foot on dry US soil, he or she is automatically given legal status. The catch, of course, is that this policy applies only to Cubans. Undocumented Haitians, or for that matter Irishmen, Poles or Vietnamese, are imprisoned and eventually sent back when caught. If all immigrants were considered to be Cuban, the problem would be solved. Mexicans especially, against whom the loudest voices are raised, could easily pass for Cuban, speaking the same language and all. 

Any illegal Lithuanian or Indonesian, having declared himself to be Cuban, could then be required to live in Miami for a few years to acculturate, and eventually would qualify for citizenship. In the meantime, he or she could work, pay Social Security and taxes, and generally live the life of a working class American. (Rich or educated immigrants generally have the proper papers and don't need any rules changes.) Cubans actually born in Cuba would then be free to plot a return to their homeland, secure in the knowledge that the Cuban vote has now swelled to gigantic proportions impossible for politicians to overlook. 

Wet foot dry foot is an excellent policy, and in fact is consistent with American history, during much of which people who sneaked in, or their descendants, have provided the vigor and industriousness that made our country great. If it's good enough for Cuban illegals, it's good enough for all illegals. In fairness, it should apply to everyone or to no one. Republicans, especially Floridians, should ponder this carefully.  

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