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“Pity The Poor Immigrant”: How Jeb Bush Prevented Deportation Of An Illegal Alien And Terrorist

Between today and the first Republican primary of 2016, Jeb Bush surely will tell America exactly how government should cope with undocumented workers and their families. The former Florida governor, whose wife was born in Mexico, prompted headlines this week when his new book, Immigration Wars, seemed to abandon his earlier support for a “path to citizenship” in immigration reform and to adopt a much harder line — which he promptly dropped as well.

Unsurprisingly, Bush’s opinions on immigration are confused and confusing, not to mention ill-informed, which probably makes him a perfect leader for his party. He favored a path to citizenship for the undocumented when most Republicans opposed it; then his book warned that such a provision would encourage a renewed wave of illegal immigration; and now, as Republicans complain that he is out of step with their effort to court Latino voters, he is squirming away from his own book’s argument.

But no matter which direction Bush ultimately takes in the immigration debate, he can cite at least one Latino immigrant whose deportation he strived successfully to prevent, almost a quarter-century ago, when his father was president. The only drawback to this heartwarming humanitarian story is that the man whose cause Bush advocated was a bloodthirsty terrorist who was almost certainly responsible for the brutal murder of scores of innocent victims

In 1989, the Justice Department was seeking to deport one Orlando Bosch, a Cuban exile and anti-Castro militant who was then imprisoned for entering the United States illegally. Leaders of the Cuban-American community were agitating for Bosch’s release, although US law enforcement and intelligence authorities held Bosch culpable in many acts of brazen terror. Along with his suspected (and sometimes confessed) responsibility for various bombings and attacks on civilian and diplomatic targets, Bosch was believed to have overseen the sabotage of a Cuban airliner. The resulting explosion killed all 76 civilians aboard, including all the young members of Cuba’s Olympic fencing team, several passengers from other countries, and a pregnant mother. Corrupt Venezuelan prosecutors had failed to convict Bosch of this crime, but he publicly sought to justify the airliner bombing, almost to boast of it, when he wasn’t proffering unpersuasive denials. (He was also strongly suspected of running the conspiracy that blew up a car in Washington, D.C. in 1976 — an incident that killed Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his assistant, American citizen Ronni Moffitt, in perhaps the most infamous assassination carried out by foreigners on American soil.)

Miami’s Cuban leaders considered Bosch their greatest hero and turned to Jeb Bush, then a budding businessman seeking real estate deals in South Florida, to prevent his deportation.

The Bush Justice Department wanted to deport Bosch because, according to the FBI, he had “repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death.” Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, a Bush appointee, denounced Bosch as “an unrepentant terrorist.” None of this deterred Jeb Bush from lobbying against Bosch’s deportation – and in the end, from persuading his father to pardon Bosch, which meant he could live freely and comfortably in Miami until his death in 2011 at the age of 85.

Eight years later, with the help of the same wealthy Cuban-Americans who had implored him to help Bosch, Jeb Bush had become a wealthy man and newly elected governor of Florida.

Now Bush has adopted a hard line against those who have disobeyed America’s immigration statutes. But his outrage over the flouting of those laws seems extremely selective: For the ordinary worker with impoverished family, no mercy; for the demented terrorist with powerful friends, no effort spared.

 

By: Joe Conason, The National Memo, March 7, 2013

March 8, 2013 Posted by | Immigration Reform | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Skeptical Argument”: It’s Silly To Oppose A Path To Citizenship Because It’s “Unfair”

Senator Ted Cruz isn’t a fan of the “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants already in the United States. His remarks on the subject were a response to a new immigration proposal in Congress. “There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration,” he said. “I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with the rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.”

Over the years, I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of that argument.

The typical illegal immigrant is born, through no fault of his own, into an impoverished country with low standards of living, endemic corruption, and few economic opportunities for bettering his lot. There are richer countries where he could live a much better life. But the people born into those richer countries, owing to nothing but dumb luck, have enacted restrictive immigration laws that make it effectively impossible for someone of his stature to immigrate legally.

In one of those rich countries, the United States, most people who made the restrictive laws wouldn’t even be here but for the unrestricted immigration policy that prevailed when their ancestors arrived.

But back to the typical illegal immigrant.

In his impoverished land, he faces a choice: severely limit his life opportunities by staying in his home country; play the lottery of immigrating legally, which almost always consigns him to the same fate; or bid his family goodbye, sneak across the border, get a job, send much-needed money home to his loved ones, and radically improve his own life prospects by performing honest labor for people who want to buy it. His sneaking in doesn’t take anyone else’s “spot.” No legal immigrant was slowed down by his illegal entry. But he did break a duly codified law.

Is that unfair? Let’s say that it is.

Here he is in the United States seven years later. He’s been regularly employed. He hasn’t committed any crimes. He’s better off. His family back home is better off. His employer is better off. There may be people without high-school diplomas who are slightly worse off due to lower wages.

Am I to understand that fairness demands that the people born into the rich country through sheer luck forcibly repatriate the man to the poor country where he was born through no fault of his own?

That’s counterintuitive!

In fact, it’s among the worst of the arguments against a path to citizenship. And it isn’t improved by invoking supposedly wronged legal immigrants. There’s a tiny subset of people from other countries so unusually lucky that they win the immigration lottery — they get to come here legally, without sneaking across a dangerous border, because of luck. You’re telling me that fairness is advanced if, for those lucky few, we deport the guy who lost the immigration lottery?

When he is arrested, jailed for a few months, flown to a city not his own in his home country, and returns to the place of his birth, an impoverished village where he has no friends or prospects, I’m supposed to look at that outcome and think, Well, good, the fair thing happened!?

There may be good arguments for opposing a “path to citizenship.” Fairness is not one of them.

 

By: Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, January 29, 2013

January 31, 2013 Posted by | Immigration | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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