As groups organize to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order affecting migration from seven countries dealing with conflicts driven by Islamist goals for a caliphate, some refugees are still stranded because of a different presidential decision. Some of these refugees believe they’ve been politically targeted for their views.
One man seeking asylum for himself and his daughter told the BBC:
“I sold everything: my house, my appliances,” he explains. “I got into a lot of debt as well to gather the $10,000 I needed to pay for the journey.”
Making matters more frustrating, the asylum seekers say there was no notice. Even US media appeared to have little advance notice. Media attempted to explain the reasoning:
“This new announcement was kept largely under wraps in hopes of avoiding a flood of hopeful migrants taking to the seas trying to beat the deadline.”
Some media have covered these migrants’ stories. Photos of bare bones camps in Mexico contrast sharply with conditions at processing centers in the US. Reuters reported on the surprise change in policy:
“Washington abruptly ended a lenient immigration policy.”
Democrat senators like Chuck Schumer (NY) and lax migration proponents like Republican John McCain didn’t devote news cycles to complaining about this change in policy. Well-organized flash mobs did not gather at major ports.
The unexpected decision was issued by former President Barack Obama eight days before President Donald Trump took the oath of office.
Speaking to a Spanish-language newspaper, one activist believes the decision by Obama was political:
“Ramón Saúl Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement in Miami, also suggested that Obama changed the 22-year-old policy to spite the pro-Trump Cuban-American community in the United States. He told a Spanish-language newspaper, Diario Las Americas, that the outgoing president may be resentful because a large number of Cubans voted for Trump.”
Responses by media to Obama’s abrupt decision stand in sharp contrast to reactions to Trump’s policy. Most media and Democrats in Congress as well as Republicans like McCain seem to advocate a lax migration policy despite hotzones in the Mideast and North Africa. Why none have bemoaned the plight of these Cuban refugees is unknown. One study noted the successful assimilation of Cuban immigrants into the fabric of US life.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Jan. 30, 2017)
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