Florida Roundup: Cuban, Syrian Migrant Crises And U.S. Policy

Nov 20, 2015

In response to the Paris attacks one week ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined more than half of the nations governors who called for "extensive" screening of Syrian migrants entering the United States.

One of the attackers who carried out the terrorist attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead appeared to be using a fake Syrian passport.

The call on Congress by 30 governors renewed debate surrounding immigration policy and highlighted the differences between state and federal policy.

“We’re a state of tourism, we’ll have over 100 million tourists, we’re a state of immigration, we have over 250 languages spoken in our state," Scott told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday. "We love people coming to our state, but we don’t want one terrorist. I’m responsible for everybody in  my state. I don’t want anything to happen in my state.”

Although governors cannot override federal immigration policy, they can withhold funds that aid refugee resettlement programs.

Meanwhile, Central America is dealing with a Cuban migrant crisis. Authorities in Nicaragua are preventing about 2,000 Cubans from moving through the country on their way to the U.S.  As a result, those migrants are languishing at the Nicaraguan-Costa Rican border. 

"It looks like a tent city with no tents," said Tim Rogers, Fusion's Latin America editor. "There are people sprawled along cardboard all over the place, competing for shade under trees."

The Cuban migrant crisis comes as suspicions grow that the Cuban Adjustment Act - which gives Cuban immigrants an unusual fast track to permanent residency in the U.S. - may end amid normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

"Ironically, the Syrian refugee crisis [may] eventually do away with the Cuban Adjustment Act," said WLRN's Tim Padgett. "The double standard [of preferential treatment for Cubans] is just so glaring."