Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Third time lucky 

Persistence pays off (any more hat tips to Dan Foty and he'll have to co-edit this blog):

"A Cuban family that twice tried to reach Florida with vehicles converted into boats has made it to Miami, this time coming overland via Mexico from Costa Rica, the family's lawyer said.

"Luis Grass, his wife, Isora Hernandez, and their 5-year-old son, Angel Luis Grass Hernandez, entered the United States though the Texas-Mexico border on March 12.

"They were held in custody in Brownsville, Texas until Sunday. They traveled to Miami on Monday after being released on parole for humanitarian reasons. They will be allowed to apply for permanent residence in 2006."

Gregory Wald / U.S. Coast Guard via AP file

If you're industrious enough to attempt an ocean crossing to America on a 1951 Chevy pickup converted into a boat, you should be allowed in, and I'm sure you'll make a great and productive citizen of the United States.

We, Poles, were fortunate enough during the 1980s to be able to reach the West without having to cross the border disguised as a shrub (although in the immediate aftermath of the martial law in 1981 some did, crossing the mountains on the Polish-Czechoslovak border, walking through Czechoslovakia, and crossing, again illegally, the Czech-Austrian border). But when living in Italian refugee camps in the late 1980s, I recall listening to Romanians telling stories of their escapes from Ceaucescu's paradise. These people literally had to swim rivers; many were shot at by the Romanian border guards; many had their friends or family members die either from gunshots or from drowning or both. And, of course, how can we forget the Berlin Wall, erected - according to the East German authorities - to keep the West Germans out, where
more than 260 people had died while trying to cross to freedom.

By the way, can anyone remind me why, with all that wonderful health care, high levels of literacy, and the lack of crass American materialism and imperialism, aren't there people swimming back the other way, trying to get into Cuba?


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