Menendez On Migration

Saturday, May 23, 2009
WASHINGTON – Upon word that the Obama administration plans to resume previously suspended migration talks with the Castro regime, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) released the following statement:
"These talks have been suspended in the past by both the Clinton and Bush administrations because of a lack of goodwill on the part of the Castro regime. Such a gesture will probably be well-received by the Castro brothers, since it provides them with a perception of legitimacy and gives them the attention they seek. The 20,000 visas that the U.S. has offered in the past for Cuban nationals have proven to be a huge asset for the Castro regime in the way they control the exit of those selected by the US to receive a visa and use them as a tool for repression.
"Moving forward on these talks without progress on the part of the regime is inconsistent with the administration's stated interest in first seeing movement on the Castro regime's side. Instead, these talks should be conditioned on loosening the exit visa restrictions and allowing American diplomats to visit repatriated migrants to monitor whether or not they are being penalized. Right now, people are languishing in Castro's prisons for simply 'exiting illegally.'
"The administration is missing opportunities to make real change in Cuba by not conditioning this type of opportunity on the regime acting to stop denying its citizens exit visas and charging exorbitant amounts of those who they chose to let exit."