• 30°

Denying visa was not right decision

A story hit the newswires this week about a 70-year-old Cuban immigrant – now a citizen – whose son has been denied a visa to visit her in the United States.

Thursday, September 28, 2000

A story hit the newswires this week about a 70-year-old Cuban immigrant – now a citizen – whose son has been denied a visa to visit her in the United States.

OK, no big deal, visas are denied every day. That is how the U.S. regulates who comes in and out of the country.

The problem is, this woman was dying and her last wish was to see her son whom she had not seen since the 1960s.

The man posed little threat. He had been a happy resident of Cuba since the’60s and had rebuked efforts by relatives to join them in the U.S.

All he wanted now was to see his dying mother.

There are many people who think the Elian Gonzalez case is over, but the residual effect of those months of debate and criticism of U.S. immigration policy is that many officials are thinking twice about opening the gates.

Especially as it concerns Cuban immigrants, U.S. officials are being more cautious and more critical – whether it be because of worries about reprecussions if they are too lenient or reaction to the criticism they endured over the Elian Gonzalez case.

That means this nation’s gates to freedom are not as easily opened and loopholes become barriers, as in this family’s case.

The United States needs a more effective immigration policy setting specific rules for how and whom will be allowed to become a citizen, but there should be room for compassion, too.