Letters from the Issue of November 21, 2002
But that doesn't mean Miami has to go down the toilet with it: Regarding Rebecca Wakefield's article about Cheryl Little, who heads the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center ("Little Goes a Long Way," November 7), when the Haitians landed on Rickenbacker Causeway I just happened to be reading a book titled The Case Against Immigration by Roy Beck, published in 1996. It's a scholarly work, well documented, footnoted, and indexed. The central theme explores the consequences of the overflow of immigrants coming to this country in numbers far beyond the rate prior to 1965.
Congress wrote the Immigration Act of 1965 and President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law, despite a Harris poll that showed -- by a two-to-one margin -- Americans were happy with the then-current rate of immigration.
It's well established that cheap labor erodes the wages of Americans, regardless of race or ethnic background. The massive wave of undocumented immigrants puts a heavy load on our schools and social services, and accounts, in large part, for Miami being the poorest big city in America.
Now, once again, here comes Cheryl Little, an immigrant herself, to champion these people assaulting our shores without papers and claiming to be refugees. Less than five percent of people seeking admission to our country meet the United Nations standards for classification as refugees, and I'm pretty sure Cheryl Little knows that. I'm at a loss to understand why this former Canadian is trying so hard to flood our community with boat people. What's her motivation in saddling Miami-Dade County with this burden?
No one can argue that Haiti is not a nice place to live these days, but that does not mean we have to bear the burden just because we are the first stop on a weeklong boat ride. I also believe the Cuban Adjustment Act should be adjusted again and the wet-foot/dry-foot bullshit should be repealed. Treat all people the same. That would be fair to all those seeking admittance to the United States. No old commie-bugaboo crap should drive our immigration policy. That would truly be the American way.
I've never had a chance to quote myself before, but I call your attention to a letter I sent to New Times way back in July 1992. I wrote then: "When the last Haitian fit enough to climb into a rickety sailboat has left his homeland, who will be left to rebuild that tortured country? It won't be Cheryl Little and her friends but rather the taxpayers who will be called on to support the new arrivals and to provide foreign aid to a country stripped of its able-bodied population. And we'll have the Haitian advocates' misplaced allegiance to thank for it."
John E. Brown
One more boatload of Haitians and she's going to scream: One of the photographs accompanying Rebecca Wakefield's article "Little Goes a Long Way" pithily exposes the true reason our schools are overcrowded. In this picture a woman protesting United States immigration policy regarding Haitians is wearing a T-shirt advocating smaller class sizes.
We cannot have small classrooms and a lax immigration policy simultaneously. Our liberal immigration policies may have made sense (except to Native Americans) when our nation was sparsely populated. But Miami-Dade County and the United States overall have grown beyond the carrying capacities of our ecosystems.
Let's wake up and smell the Cuban coffee!
It's not the content of your character, it's the color of your skin: "Cubans get to stay, Haitians must go away." That's typical of Miami and the Bushmen: The prez waits until after the election -- and his brother's victory -- to say that, as usual, it's the black people who have to go home.
Although I live in the Atlanta area now, Miami is my home. I'm glad to see that New Times leaves no political dirt under the carpet. It's refreshing and it's the first newspaper I pick up when I'm home. Thanks.
Just to be safe, I'm going to douse it: Francisco Alvarado, in his article "Thanks, Jeb!" (November 7), wrote that the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department "was not even aware it was going on" [referring to a Gov. Jeb Bush rally held at Station 8 in Aventura]. That was not completely accurate. The department did not know about the rally until the day before the event.
Mr. Alvarado quoted me as saying: "[The rally] was arranged between [firefighters] Local 1403 and the county manager's office. We did not know anything about this event." What I told Mr. Alvarado was that the union organized the event and that the county manager's office gave its approval. I never said the county manager's office organized the event along with the union.
Louie Fernandez, Sr., bureau chief for public affairs
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue
And then they went and messed it up big time: I came to Miami in January 1946, right out of the U.S. Army. It was a wonderful place then and very livable for most. There are many reasons Miami is now the nation's poorest big city -- most of them self-inflicted ("We're Number One! A Special Report," September 26 and October 3).
Several riots devastated Liberty City and Overtown. A lot of businesses were destroyed and others moved to safer surroundings. At one time most of Miami's mom-and-pop stores were owned by Jews. They were run out. Then the Chinese took over, but they too had to leave. Then the Arabs tried to no avail.
Hyde Park and many other grocers had to close because of thievery. At one time on Seventh Avenue there was a huge market named Shell's. People came down from Fort Lauderdale to shop there. They also were run out of business. The list goes on and on.
Then there was a fellow named Joseph Caleb, a union organizer who worked hard to get his people decent wages. Lo and behold he succeeded, and what happened? He was murdered. And then the Cubans came and all the nice people, mainly on the Beach, could get cheap labor. As I was told, two Cubans for one black.
The influx of Cubans was tremendous. Cheap labor was here to stay. (And by the way, you haven't seen anything yet if the Cuban Adjustment Act isn't repealed and something happens to Castro.) Now add Haitians and all the South and Central American countries that are getting rid of their excess populations, all converging on Miami, and you have an unholy mess.
Why would a businessman relocate here? How could he sell relocation to his key people? If the Russians had done to Miami what our own politicians have done, we would have gone to war with them. We get the kind of government we deserve. We allowed this to happen.
Fred C. Hammer
An editor's note in last week's "Letters" section misidentified Lisa Palley as a spokeswoman for the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of South Florida (formerly the Dade Human Rights Foundation). Ms. Palley, who heads the Miami public-relations and marketing firm Palley Promotes, does not represent the organization. New Times regrets the error.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.