Florida Roundup: Diplomacy And Immigration

Feb 6, 2015

  On the Florida Roundup, we discuss the week's top stories with journalists.


U.S. lawmakers gathered on Capitol Hill to discuss the renewed diplomatic relations with the communist island going forward. Despite the move to normalize relations, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen voiced concerns about making concessions without progress in Cuba.

With the Department of Homeland Security’s funding deadline less than a month away, Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for what may be the next stage in Congress’ fight on President Obama’s immigration policies.

House Republicans have already passed their own version of DHS funding that would also block the president’s November immigration orders and deport up to four million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

During President Obama's State of the Union address tonight, a young, undocumented "DREAMer" from South Florida will be in the guest seat next to Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel.

Charlene Rupert, 21, of Palm Springs came to the United States from Venezuela with her grandmother when she was 11-years-old. She says she didn’t realize she was an undocumented immigrant until she was 16.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government gave more than 200,000 Salvadorans living here temporarily the opportunity to stay for at least another 18 months.

These immigrants are on something called Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. It's for immigrants who are already living in the United States illegally when a natural or humanitarian disaster hits their home country.

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.

The 2014 Florida Roundup

Dec 26, 2014
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.


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. 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.