The organized effort to rescue the children of Communist Cuba 50 years ago is a far cry from the Biden administration’s disgraceful border disaster
MIAMI – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez, and Attorney General Ashley Moody met with Cuban Americans who as children were brought to Miami as part of Operation Pedro Pan and faith leaders who help human trafficking victims to bring light to the Biden administration’s failed border policies which are endangering migrant children and our nation as a whole. By its own admission, the Biden Administration has stated that they lose contact with roughly one out of every three unaccompanied alien children (UAC) coming across the southwest border. More on the impacts of the Biden Border Crisis can be seen here.
“Operation Pedro Pan was an organized, pre-planned program administered with visas and flight manifests to specifically rescue children from an oppressive Communist regime,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “While the flights of Operation Pedro Pan were designed to be hidden from the Cuban regime, the Biden administration operates its clandestine human smuggling flights in the dark of night to be hidden from the American people. The current UAC process smuggles in illegal immigrants from many different countries with no vetting, no transparency, and no consideration for child and public safety. Today, Pedro Pans and faith leaders joined together to expose how the Biden border crisis is increasing human trafficking, increasing sex trafficking, and increasing drug trafficking.”
“Operation Pedro Pan was authorized and approved by the U.S. Government to bring refugee children from Cuba to the U.S. in a lawful, controlled, vetted, and organized manner — breaking no immigration laws at the time,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “By contrast, the chaos at our southern border means that in the last year alone, about 2 million migrants from all over the world have crossed our border illegally. President Biden’s reckless open-border policies have incentivized a mass influx, in which murderous drug cartels, gang members, and human traffickers are smuggling individuals across the border or worse yet, posing as children. With our Administration’s efforts, Governor DeSantis and I are refusing to perpetuate bad policy, we are standing on the side of law and order, and we are seeking to protect Floridians from Biden’s open border agenda.”
“I am honored to fight alongside Governor Ron DeSantis as we protect Floridians from a federal government that violates its own immigration laws and intentionally makes this country less safe,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “Florida stands united against crime, lawlessness, and a federal government that is using taxpayer funds and clandestine means to flood our state with unvetted, illegal immigrants—all while keeping our leaders in the dark about who is being relocated to our state.”
“If you can see in this museum, when we came over here, we thought it was temporary and that the communist government of Cuba would end,” said Maximo Alvarez, Operation Pedro Pan Refugee. “Let me assure you that they knew exactly who I was, they knew who my parents were. They are using this program to convince people that this is similar to what is happening today. Not even close. This is the way that communism works — remember the ends justify the means. What is happening right now, you see children as merchandise and these cartels are using these kids as merchandise for personal gain. When I came, we came directly into the hands of the church, and we were treated like family. We are so proud of our governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. We are in great hands in the state of Florida.”
“We came into the hands of the church, we had documents, none of us got lost, anything that had to do with us our parents would be consulted,” said Carmen Valdivia, Executive Director of the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora. “Each of us were put into a group that would take care of our faith because that is what our parents wanted. To put children on the frontline and use them to put a political agenda through is inconceivable. When you experience communism, you see what is happening and you know the steps that you go through to get to communism.”
“These conversations have to begin and end with what is best for the child,” said Dr. Jerry Haag, CEO of One More Child. “Today, regarding children, we have a failing foreign policy that is creating a domestic disaster for children as they are incentivized to become victims and make this trek all the way to the United States. We can no longer incentivize children to make that journey where they are victimized, abused and trafficked.”
“Poverty is not persecution and lawlessness is not godly,” said Jack Brewer, Founder and Executive Director of the Jack Brewer Foundation. “We have to help people where they are. To incentivize a few who are able bodied enough to get to the border and use hundreds of millions of dollars to do so when we could go into those countries and actually establish programs and give people an opportunity and a chance and Florida is a catalyst for that opportunity.”
During Operation Pedro Pan, more than 14,000 Cuban children were evacuated from Cuba after the takeover of the brutal Castro Regime and were flown to Miami. Operation Pedro Pan was an organized refugee program aimed at protecting children from political persecution in Cuba, which is much different than what is occurring today. The Biden Administration’s open border policies are incentivizing the mass trafficking of minors through Central America to the cartel controlled southern border, a much more dangerous journey than that of Operation Pedro Pan.
Governor DeSantis has been steadfast and innovative in his efforts to shield Floridians, including vulnerable children, from the dangers of failed federal immigration policies by:
- Appointing a Public Safety Czar to coordinate an interagency approach to protect Floridians from illegal immigration;
- Sending Florida law enforcement to the border and travelling to Texas to see for himself the ongoing catastrophe and the important role that our Florida law enforcement played in stopping drug smuggling and human trafficking;
- Prohibiting the issuance or renewal of any license to organizations or companies that house unaccompanied alien minors who seek to be resettled in Florida;
- Pushing back on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as they attempt to defend Biden’s failed immigration policies which are in turn harming children; and
- Announcing proposals for the current Legislative Session to hold accountable private entities that knowingly or recklessly assist the Biden Administration in resettling illegal immigrants into Florida.