In the spirit of the holidays, Cuban-American members of Congress are at it again with their Grinch-like tactics. Rolled into a spending “Megabus” bill that is being pushed through Congress is language that would restrict family travel to Cuba for Cuban Americans to once every three years, no exceptions. However, not only does this amendment, led by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, separate families, it also redefines what constitutes a family circle. Cuban Americans, TAKE NOTE: What this means is that your cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, etc., will no longer qualify as “family.” As one of our Cuban-American friends said, “The very idea that some U.S. entity is going to tell a Cuban who is your family and who is not is something so beyond the pale that it might suffice to turn water into wine . . .”
This government-mandated family separation is exactly what we saw during the Bush years. We cannot see this happen again.
Family reunification is what we have energetically supported; and in 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated, he upheld his promise to the Cuban-American community and lifted all restrictions on family travel. When Rep. Diaz-Balart’s amendment was passed through the House Appropriations Committee in July, President Obama threatened to veto any bill that came to his desk that intended to make changes to his current Cuba policy.
Yesterday, we asked you to let the White House know that you support President Obama’s efforts to allow unrestricted Cuban-American family travel.
Up to the time of sending this alert, over 2,000 of you visited the White House comment line or website through the link in our message. If you didn’t get a chance to send the President a message yesterday, use this time to let him know that you support unrestricted Cuban-American family travel, not separation. Or call the White House at 202.456.1111 (24 hour recorded comment line) or 202.456.1414 (9am-5pm switchboard). And if you have already contacted the White House, please do it again! Our voices must be heard!
Here’s a sample message for you to use, if you’d like: “President Obama, it is not acceptable for any spending bill to include a limit on Cuban-American family travel or remittances, or to tell Cubans who belongs to their families. Support Cuban-American families, as you promised in your 2008 campaign; don’t sign a “megabus” bill that that limits family rights to travel to Cuba freely.”Friday the continuing resolution that has been funding our country is set to expire. Time is very short to make an impact. Be part of that impact.