Like most things surrounding the Bush Administration, the U.S. immigration policy is a web of totally inconsistent legislation and priorities.
If you come to this country illegally from MEXICO, there are hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of "Americans" (themselves all ancestors of immigrants) who want to throw you out on your Latino ass. That stands regardless of being productive, law-abiding people who merely want a better life.
BUT if you are from Cuba, you are treated FAR differently. Because of the undue political influence of ultra-conservative Cubano voters in south Florida, and those votes going to the Republicna party, illegal immigrants from Cuba, wanting a better life, are given special privileges.
The Cuban Adjustment Act was adopted by Congress on Nov. 2, 1966, under the Lyndon Johnson administration. Its main purpose was to change the legal status of Cuban immigrants - to become "political refugees" and to grant them asylum. That would mean immediate access to the legal system and welfare benefits not given to other groups (automatic permanent residence status - all without review and without the normal processing time).
The Immigration and Naturalization Service policy was updated in the 1990s to become the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, acknowledged just a few days ago by the White House. That means Cubans who reach U.S. soil are allowed to stay; those caught at sea usually are sent home.
If this nation wants consistent immigration reform and control of its borders, then such enforcement MUST be across-the-board, regardless of country of origin. We profess to hate Fidel Castro and love Vicente Fox but Senor Fox's actions often demonstrate that he is NOT our compadre. However, the Mexican-American community still lacks the concentrated political strength as exhibited by their Cuban brethren.
The entire debate centers on the wrong issue. It's just like the phony War on Drugs. Instead of attacking the suppliers (much more difficult since they often exist outside our borders), the "demand" situation is the area to attack. Kill the demand and the supply will dry up.
If the United States government decides to make it VERY painful for U.S. employers to openly desire to hire (illegal workers on the cheap), then the supply to dwindle. But that seems quite unlikely because there is no political will to challenge to business lobby. One shriek of "higher prices" is enough to stifle any meaningful debate.
And that's la verdad. The Truth.