Sen. Rick Scott: The Cuban dictatorship is arming mass migration and Biden must respond

January 13, 2023

El Nuevo Herald
Senator Rick Scott
January 13, 2023

President Joe Biden has brought the crisis he created on our southern border to Florida's front door. With US Customs and Border Protection reporting a 400% increase in migrant encounters in South Florida since October 2022, and massive arrivals of Cubans in the Florida Keys and the islands that make up the National Park Dry Tortugas, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay and I spoke with Coast Guard Admiral Linda Fagan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to push for responses and resources to address the growing crisis they face. It is unacceptable that Floridians face another devastating consequence of President Biden's shameful appeasement of the illegitimate Cuban communist regime and his commitment to keep the US border wide open. It is clear that we need answers and action now.

 

Many Floridians, especially those in South Florida, well understand the important role the Castro-Díaz-Canel regime has played in exploiting the United States by stoking instability throughout Latin America, supporting ruthless dictators like Nicolás Maduro and Daniel Ortega. and driving mass migration to benefit his illegitimate government and his evil allies in communist China, Russia and Iran. This is a strategy that the Cuban regime has used effectively for decades. We saw it during the Mariel boatlift in 1980 and the Cuban rafters crisis in 1994.

 

But the scope of the mass migration from Cuba that we are seeing today belittles previous events. Last year, more than 250,000 Cubans immigrated to the United States illegally, more than arrived during the exodus of 1980 and 1994 combined. Note that each of these events occurred during Democratic administrations. And none of this is a coincidence or something unexpected. For decades, the illegitimate Cuban communist regime has used the appeasement promoted by Democratic presidents to increase its influence and exert its will. It is clear that Cuba has a strategy here. Here's some proof. In November 2021, the Ortega regime in Nicaragua, a close ally of the Castro/Díaz-Canel regime, announced that it would eliminate the visa requirement for Cuban citizens. This measure was widely reported at the time and almost everyone saw it for what it was: a way for the Cuban regime to expel Cubans and put them on a route for illegal immigration to the United States through our border. south.

 

While the Castro-Díaz-Canel regime plays chess to increase its influence throughout our hemisphere, President Biden plays checkers from his home in Delaware, and the United States is losing on all fronts. The Cuban dictatorship is arming mass migration for two reasons. The first is that she is terrified of the growing movement for freedom and democracy on the island. And the second is because he knows that pushing thousands of Cubans off the island to the United States helps him get what he wants: more appeasement from the United States, which helps finance his oppression. And that is exactly what Joe Biden is giving while he gets NOTHING in return to help the Cuban people advance their fight for freedom. The first thing Biden has to do is secure our borders. An open border benefits the regimes in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua that partner with the cartels to illegally smuggle drugs and innocent people, including children, across the US border. An open border is a gift to these regimes and narcoterrorists and it must end NOW.

 

To help end the Biden border crisis, I am fighting to pass my United States Customs Waters Expansion Act to expand the United States Customs Waters from 12 to 24 nautical miles. We must give CBP and the Coast Guard the tools to stop both illegal migration and drug trafficking off our coasts. So if Joe Biden is serious about supporting freedom and democracy in Latin America, he should call for the immediate passage of my DEMOCRACY Act , which authorizes the President to use all possible means to provide unrestricted and stable Internet to the people. Cuban to reconnect with each other and with the world. This law would also impose harsh sanctions to punish Cuba's illegitimate regime and all those who support its oppression. If President Biden did this today, and my bill became law, our hemisphere would be a safer place and freedom movements in Latin America would be encouraged. Biden's uncontrolled border has brought this crisis to Florida's doorstep. Now, the President should listen to my fellow Floridians, especially those who have actually lived through and escaped oppression in Cuba and other dictatorships. He must heed our calls and take action today to secure the border and end his shamefully failed appeasement agenda that is threatening US national security and hindering progress and stability in the hemisphere.