Monday, January 18, 2016

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Economic, not political refugees"

The Miami Herald editorial board: "Following a South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation last year, some of the Cuban Adjustment Act’s benefits have come under scrutiny, and congressional members, including Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, have questioned the necessity of bestowing such largesse upon new arrivals who, unlike past waves of Cuban migrants, are economic, not political refugees. The act was created for the latter. But the United States’ new relationship with Cuba has changed the dynamic."

For decades, Cubans were not allowed to travel outside the country without government permission; today, most can leave and return. Until a few years ago, those who left had to leave all of their belongings, give up their homes, cars and anything else of value to the government. That’s not the case now.
"Mr. Curbelo, himself a Cuban American, last month filed a bill to amend federal law that treats all Cuban arrivals as refugees or political asylum seekers — entitled to food stamps, Medicaid and other assistance, a burden that falls on the county and the state."
Under Mr. Curbelo’s proposal, Cubans would be treated like immigrants from most other countries, who are required to file a refugee or asylum claim — and wait years for it to be approved — before qualifying for special benefits.

Indeed, it is time to engage this issue to bring long-term clarity to current policy. In the short term, however, Miami-Dade is about to see an abundance of migrants from Cuba. The U.S. government must ensure that Miami-Dade residents aren’t footing the bill alone.

"Feds must pony up as Cubans settle here."

First Days of Session

Kevin Derby "One prominent theme out of Tallahassee in the first week of the 2016 legislative session was an insistence that things would be different from last year." "First Days of Session a Far Cry From Last Year's Tensions."

"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

Marc Caputo: "Wasserman Schultz’s new worry – Marco’s narrow path – angry Jeb donor vents – Cost of business in FL Capitol: $28.5m – python hunt starts, but are armadillos worse?" "Florida Playbook."