“We acknowledge, as a widely-accepted truth, that Cuba does violate human rights and fundamental freedoms and does not guarantee the rule of law to people living in Cuba.” Gonzalez I, 212 F.3d at 1353. “The principal human rights abuses include the abridgement of the ability of citizens to choose their government; the use of government threats, physical assault, intimidation, and violent government-organized counterprotests against peaceful dissent; and harassment and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly.” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor, U.S. Dep’t of State, Cuba 2015 Human Rights Report 1, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253217.pdf. Twenty-four Cuban migrants boarded a boat slightly over a month ago in hopes of reaching the United States, the land of freedom and opportunity where their families and friends had ventured before them, a place where “all men are created equal” and where the “certain unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” are held sacred. The Declaration of Independence para. 2 (1776). There is no doubt that these Cuban migrants and their families have spent the pendency of this litigation dreaming of those opportunities in the spirit of the Cuban hero and poet José Martí: “I dream with open eyes both night and day; I always dream.”15
The Court neither approves nor disapproves the Executive Branch’s decision that the Cuban migrants in this case do not qualify for refugee processing as dry foot arrivals to the United States. Developments and revisions of immigration and foreign policy are left to the political branches of the government. However, the Coast Guard’s informal adjudication in this case does not contradict Congress’s policies in the INA nor the President’s executive actions in securing our borders. And Plaintiffs have not been deprived of any constitutional rights to which they are presently entitled.
15 “Yo sueño con los ojos abiertos, y de día y noche siempre sueño.” Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology 21 (Stephen Tapscott ed., Elinor Randall trans., Univ. of Tex. Press 1996) (capitalization modified).
Interesting decision by Judge Gayles. Via the Miami Herald:
After more than five weeks bobbing offshore in a Coast Guard cutter, 21 Cuban migrants are headed back to Cuban soil.
Federal Judge Darrin Gayles ruled Tuesday that the U.S.’s “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy does not extend to the American Shoal lighthouse six and a half nautical miles off Sugarloaf Key. The 21 migrants, two of which are women, fled Cuba and landed on the lighthouse, sparking an eight-hour standoff with the Coast Guard crews while they refused to climb off the 109-foot tall structure.
Once they climbed off the lighthouse and into the Coast Guard boats, the U.S. government said the structure didn’t count as American soil and tried to send the migrants back to Cuba.