In fiscal year 2020, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (U.S. ICE), completed 1,208 removals of Cuban nationals back to Cuba. More than twice as many were deported in 2019, compared to 2018, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s own data. That was more than tenfold from the end of the Obama administration.
Since Donald Trump took office, more Cubans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border have been sent back, and a policy introduced in 2019 that denies protection to asylum seekers who have passed through another country before reaching Mexico and have not sought asylum there, has also impacted Cubans and Venezuelan immigrants. In fact, Cubans make up the largest number of migrants in Mexico trying to obtain asylum in the United States––about 20,000.
Hundreds of Venezuelans fleeing the regime of Nicolás Maduro and showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border in large numbers, are also coming up against Trump’s hardline immigration policies. Most of them have been jailed for extended periods, or sent back to Mexico to languish in dangerous border towns while awaiting their immigration cases in the U.S.
The lack of TPS and access to asylum has resulted in at least hundreds of Venezuelans and Cubans trapped in U.S. detention centers, exposed to the deadly coronavirus.
All despite proclamations from the Trump administration that it supports people escaping brutal conditions under Maduro and “socialism.”
Yet, ironically, Cubans and Venezuelan immigrant voters in Florida––who are quick to yell about the horrors of dictatorship and “socialism”––are happy to throw their support to America’s emerging dictator and xenophobe-in-chief. The rally attendance and ‘Latinos For Trump’ signs would be nauseating, if they weren’t so laughable.
It’s time to wake up!
John Bolton, in his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” claimed that Trump described the current Venezuelan president, as “smart” and “tough,” while expressing admiration for “all those good-looking generals” who stand behind him. By contrast, despite the front from the administration, Trump, according to Bolton, characterized Venezuelan opposition leader and leader of the democratically elected National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as “weak.”
Trump and his party, who control the U.S. Senate, have also done nothing to push Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans here. It was the Democratically-controlled Congress that introduced and passed the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019.
Yet to date, the bill continues to be stalled in the Senate and the Department of Homeland Security has not designated TPS for this group even though it can. All while El Trumpeto continues to pledge support for the Venezuelan people and some––including in Florida––foolishly have fallen for the lies.
No immigrant should vote for or support Donald Trump; not after the clear xenophobic policies of this administration over the past four years and the ratcheted up anti-immigrant sentiments across the country.
Cubans and Venezuelan here in the U.S. would be wise not to be so blinded by the horrors of the dictator they fled that they miss the dictator emerging in these United States.
Take a lesson from the Haitian voters who Donald Trump courted in 2016, and then swiftly cast aside by ending TPS for many in their communities, deporting many back to Haiti, and referring to the country reportedly, as a s-hole country. Open your eyes and see the policies now that are also impacting your own brothers and sisters fleeing the same horrors you have been lucky to escape, and understand that it is Donald Trump, his administration and his party only who are standing in the way of TPS and asylum for them right now.
Donald Trump’s only goal is to White Power Reigns Supreme. Brown and Black immigrants have no place in their White Utopia––no matter how much blood of the European slave master flows in your veins and “light” your skin may appear when compared to Haitians and other Central American immigrants.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.