immigration

As far as I’m concerned, one of the year’s most important Latin American stories happened this week in China.

Yep, communist China. On Monday the government’s Internet watchdragon, known as the Great Firewall, pulled the plug on Gmail because it's a subversive instrument of free speech and dissent.

In the process, Beijing affirmed President Obama’s historic decision this month to pursue a policy of engagement with communist Cuba.

Miami Herald

Note: This is a pre-recorded episode of the Florida Roundup. 

  On the Florida Roundup, we look back at the year that was 2014. The year ends with the biggest change in U.S. - Cuba relations in almost two generations.

ELECTIONS

Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot Policy Stays In Place For Now

Dec 26, 2014
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Cuban immigration policy known as "wet-foot, dry-foot" — where migrants who make it to U.S. soil can stay, while those intercepted at sea are returned to Cuba — remains in place after President Obama's announcement of normalizing relations with Cuba.

"Essentially everything remains the same. Our missions and operations here in the Southeast are unchanged," said Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma, spokesman for the Coast Guard's District 7 in Miami.

Edward Garza / Mexican-American Council

South Florida’s best known Christmas traditions involve food. La caja china. Hallacas. But one of the richest customs involves street theater – plus a really cool donkey named Paco – and it reflects the increasingly important role Mexicans play in this region today.

freedigitalphotos.net/Mister GC

Florida tourism officials say America’s restrictive travel visa rules are costing the Sunshine State big bucks.

The Visa Waiver Program currently allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism without having to obtain visas.

The State Department launched a program this month that creates a safe passage to the United States from Central America. It would give some U.S.-based Latino parents the chance to bring over children they left in their home countries.

More than 57,000 child migrants made the trip across the U.S.-Mexican border this year. Many report being physically and sexually abused along the harrowing journey.

Brennan / Flickr Creative Commons

Many of Florida’s immigration organizations and nonprofits are preparing to meet the demands of President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration.

The president’s plan mostly covers undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States for more than five years and have children who were born here.

Those with no criminal records will qualify for work permits.

Day Donaldson and Edgar Alberto Domínguez Cataño / Flickr

Coincidence or communiqué?

When President Obama issued his executive order on immigration last week, including his decision to halt the deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants, some of his foes noted the date: Nov. 20.

Nov. 20 commemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution 104 years ago. So Americans for Legal Immigration PAC wondered if the president purposely chose that day as a way of “comparing his new immigration orders to the violent Mexican revolution and civil war.”

CSUF Photos / Flickr

Across the street from a record shop on Northeast Second Avenue, Marie Salomon stands outside her Little Haiti variety store chatting with a customer in Creole.

She says people are coming by still upset about Pres. Obama’s immigration plan. She doesn’t really know the full details, but Salomon say she would like to see all undocumented immigrants included.

Elle Cayabyab Gitlin / Flickr

So you’re a Florida Democrat. You’re looking for a silver lining to the humiliating Sunshine Shellacking your party took in Tuesday’s midterm elections. 

There really isn't one. But there may be a pewter lining: Your gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Crist, lost to the Republican incumbent, Governor Rick Scott, by only a percentage point. What's more, Crist might have won if not for a dumb political move by President Obama that alienated Latino voters.

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