You can’t live in south Florida very long without hearing at least something about the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, regulating the way immigrants from Cuba are handled by the US government. Roughly speaking, it means that immigrants interdicted before setting foot on American land can be sent back to
hell Cuba, while those who make it get to live in hell Miami. Note the bias shifting perspectives about which is what.
The policy makes nobody very happy. Many Cuban Americans wonder why the US would return ANY would-be Castro escapee, likening their flight to freedom to WWII era refugees from Hitler’s Germany. And many others are embittered by the special sanctuary privileges Cubans enjoy when (e.g.) Mexican workers are rounded up and run out after 15 years of residence, or Haitians are routinely declared illegals and denied entry.
Lose-Lose. It’s your government hard at work, helping you. And here’s the bill.
In a nasty little ironic twist, a third shoe has been dropped into the mix:
Cubans are migrating to the United States in the greatest numbers in over a decade, and for most of them the new way to get north is first to head west — to Mexico — in a convoluted route that avoids the United States Coast Guard.
[U]nlike Mexicans, Central Americans and others heading to the southwestern border of the United States, the Cubans do not have to sneak across. They just walk right up to United States authorities at the border, benefiting from lax Mexican enforcement and relying on Washington’s “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which gives them the ability to become permanent residents if they can reach United States soil.
Some American officials are calling this new approach — Cubans’ strolling up to border stations and seeking political asylum — dusty foot. — NY Times
“Dusty Foot!” Sounds like a country western singer, or a fungus infection, yes? (Taste-wise, is there really a distinction?)
Smugglers Entrepreneurial Mexicans have already capitalized on the immigrant law enigma. They’re coaching other Mexicans on how to speak Spanish with a Cuban accent, and concocting cover stories for them to use during interviews with American border agents. If a Mexican national can convince an agent that he’s Cuban, he walks right in.
There are a zillion ethnic jokes and insults lurking behind the scenes here — the scenario of Mexicans trying to pass for Cubans presents irresistible temptation for each to insult the other — and I invite your contributions. Meanwhile, just contemplate how the insane American wet foot/dry foot and now dusty foot policy has managed to piss off yet another entire neighboring nation, and marvel at the wisdom of our leaders.
PS Actually, there is a Dusty Foot out there. Wow. The power of teh internets.