A Rude Question: Was Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez an Illegal Alien?:
The Rude Pundit does not have an answer to this question: When Secretary of Commerce and former CEO of Kellogg's Carlos Gutierrez was a young boy, were he and his family in the United States illegally during the early 1960s?
See, in 1959, when Castro took over in Cuba, Gutierrez's father was a successful pineapple exporter, and the family was quite wealthy. But Papa Gutierrez pissed off Che Guevara, the business was taken by Castro, and the family fled in 1960, when Carlos was only six years-old. They arrived in Miami with, according to various reports, somewhere between two and eight thousand dollars and somewhere between 22 and 25 suitcases. They left Cuba, as about 200,000 others did, on a regular flight, something Castro stopped in 1962. The Gutierrez family thought it would be temporary. Gutierrez told Hispanic Magazine in February 2004, "It felt to me like we were on a holiday, a vacation. We thought things would change in Cuba and we could return." The United States, in its Cold War mania, welcomed the Cuban refugees, especially the rich ones.
But things didn't change, and the family stayed in the United States, moving around to try to repeat the success they had in Cuba. And while some Cubans were granted special permission (called "parole") to enter the country, they were not allowed residency. In fact, until 1966, in essence, the Cubans who fled Castro were a large population of illegal immigrants, including the Gutierrez family.
In 1966, the Cuban Adjustment Act was passed. It reads, in part, "[T]he status of any alien who is a native or citizen of Cuba and who has been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States subsequent to January 1, 1959 and has been physically present in the United States for at least one year, may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien makes an application for such adjustment, and the alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa and is admissible to the United States for permanent residence." It is this act, as much as anything, that encouraged defection of Cubans, including the dangerous passage of the rafting immigrants, to the United States. It is as blanket an amnesty as any immigrant group has ever been granted.
When he nominated Gutierrez in November 2004, President Bush said this about the man, "Carlos's family came to America from Cuba when he was a boy. He learned English from a bellhop in a Miami hotel, and later became an American citizen." But Bush left out that the path to citizenship included amnesty. Montana Senator Conrad Burns said, who opposes anything that even smells like a distant amnesty for illegal immigrants, said not a word opposing Gutierrez in the Commerce Committee's hearing in January 2005. On the floor of the Senate, he praised Gutierrez and proudly supported the nominee.
So the Rude Pundit is left with this conundrum: if the Gutierrez family, and all those Cubans who came to the United States in those early days of the Castro regime, were legally in America, the Cuban Adjustment Act would not have been needed. So was Carlos Gutierrez an illegal alien living in the United States until he was granted amnesty in 1966? And if so, isn't this something that we ought to know as we proceed on the rocky road of immigration "reform"?
If you have a definitive answer on the immigrant status of the Gutierrez family in the early 1960s, the Rude Pundit will publish it, including the accompanying crowing in triumph or eating of crow.