Little Elian Gonzales has personalized the plight of our less fortunate
brothers and sisters in this hemisphere. He has given a face to the
hundreds of millions of people who share our hemisphere but not our
freedom or standard of living. His story also highlights America’s
inhuman double standard for economic refugees.
Elian’s mother so loved her son that she died spiriting him away from
Cuba. She left Cuba for economic reasons. She was not an enemy of the
state. She was not a political refugee. She just wanted a better life
for herself and her son. Nevertheless, because of events that happened
before Elian or his mother were born, he is eligible to remain in
America because he is Cuban. If this adorable boy was Haitian, we would
have sent him back “home” last year.
Millions of other mothers want a better future for their children also.
Each year, they try, like Elian’s mother, to enter the United States
without a visa. However, if they are not from Cuba, we send them back.
No matter how sweet they are, we send them back. No matter how
desperate their circumstances are, we send them back.
The argument in favor of a special policy for Cuba is that refugees from
that godless country are escaping communism, not poverty. But we also
send back refugees from China and Vietnam. Those are godless communist
countries also. So the “anticommunist” argument doesn’t hold water.
In fact, things get worse when you throw in the ongoing high-tech visa
debate. Citizens from India, or China, or Brazil who want to come to
the U.S. to better their lives won’t get a visa. However, if they have
high-tech skills that America needs to keep her economy growing, they
will get a visa. And the U.S. will not pay a dime to reimburse their
homelands for the education that these high-tech immigrants received.
I don’t like either of these pictures. In one hand, we turn back
wonderful people because they weren’t born in Cuba. On the other hand,
we aid and abet a brain drain that strips poor countries of their best
and brightest young talent.
My friends, Elian would be no less of an adorable boy if he were
Haitian. His mother’s bravery would be just as laudable if she were
Mexican. Does God really care which country Elian comes from?
America’s antiquated foreign policy ignores the humanity of most of the
world, and that is wrong.
Frankly, I don’t care about what Elian’s father or Castro or Al Gore
want. The politicians will work things out after they have sucked as
much television exposure as possible out of this issue. No, I am more
concerned about America developing a foreign policy that is consistent
with our Judeo-Christian heritage as a country that values the
We cannot accept everyone who wants to come to America from a poor
country; there are too many of them. However, we can declare war on
world poverty and invest in a global capitalist revolution.
The benefits for America of such a revolution will be significant. If
we support real economic growth around the world, more people will live
lives of meaning and dignity in their homelands. As a result, they
won’t want to immigrate to the U.S. Real economic growth will give
peasant farmers a choice other than growing drugs. As an added bonus, as
their incomes rise, they also will be able to afford more products that
are “made in America.” These are all outcomes that better the world
and benefit America.
We conservatives like to talk about national security in terms of our
military might. However, we ignore the national security implications
of a wealthy world. How many hot spots would be eliminated if most
people had our standard of living? How many troops would we need if
every country was well off?
Is there any reason why we can’t support wealth creation revolution
around the world? We spend tens of billions of dollars on weapons. Why
not spend tens of billions of dollars on a global capitalist
revolution. Let’s export rabid capitalism worldwide. Is this any less
achievable than sending a man to the moon?
This is something that we can do. It may take the entire century, but
it is doable. If we have the will.
We have been blessed to have been born in or let into this country. It
is time for us to give our brothers and sisters in poor countries a
chance to have a better life. Let’s support a global market capitalism
movement with our money, our foreign policy and our hearts and souls.
After all, we are all immigrants, and it’s time to pay back our