If people really want to understand the risks of accepting unbridled swarms of refugees from another country, they should look no further than Cuba 90 miles from our shores.

     The original flow of Cuban refugees began in 1960 bringing hundreds of thousands of desperate new residents into our country, the majority of whom settled in South Florida. Until then, Miami was considered a moderate tourist town; Winter Wonderland. 

     I well remember that crisis. I was a rookie cop assigned to the airport when the first waves of Cuban people began arriving on boats and planes. Interesting enough, Castro allowed these folks access to the U.S., but required everyone to leave personal belongings behind, including homes and bank accounts. Most of the early 1960s refugees were well-educated, middle to upper class, skilled and an asset to the population. They were also proud people asking very few entitlements from our country other than asylum and emergency health benefits. Many Cubans thought Castro would not last and they could return to their homes. Never happened.

     Some moved into apartments, three families at a time. I remember Cuban men selling bananas at busy intersections. Some had been bankers, civil servants and business owners in Cuba.

     At first, Castro had us all fooled including our own government, unaware that Cuba’s new leaders were actually furtive followers of Marxism. Meanwhile, Castro seized the properties of refugees and all personal assets. Communism did not allow elections, personal choice, self-determination, and above all, no free speech.  In the early stages, many Cuban dissenters were rounded up and imprisoned, executed, or deemed missing.

          The “unbridled swarm,” mentioned above, occurred in May of 1980 when Castro decided to rid his country of costly burdens to the Cuban economy. He authorized the release of people from jails and prisons, mental institutions, the old, crippled and infirmed, the handicapped and those who were a drain to the Castro regime. He figured he’d transfer his worst problems to President Carter and the American people.

     It worked.

     Over five months, more than 125,000 refugees departed Cuba’s Port of Mariel where they boarded dilapidated boats of all kinds and disembarked on the shores of Southeast Florida. Harvard economist George Borjas determined, in his 2016 study, that 60 percent of these refugees had not graduated high school and the remaining were mostly unskilled people. The catastrophic impact upon South Florida created huge demands and economic drains on local government.

     Imagine the population of Brevard County or Dade County suddenly exploding by nearly ten percent overnight. The infrastructure is simply unprepared for that.

     In 1980, the Dade County murder rate tripled, as did many other crimes, including rapes and assaults. Bodies were showing up along roadsides, car trunks and bodies of water, many of whom had no identity records in America. Neither did the unknown perpetrators, whose identity records did not exist. Detectives were stretched to the limits while many other unsolved criminal investigations suffered from lack of attention. The medical examiner had to set up a separate refrigerator truck to handle the volume of corpses. Jails overflowed. Hospital emergency services could barely keep up with demands. Fire and police calls soared. Illegal drugs and drug pushers became ubiquitous. More gangs were formed. Schools admitted kids by the thousands, few of whom could speak English. That impacted the quality of education for the local children.

     Meanwhile, thousands of these people set up “Tent City” under bridges, causeways and in sports arenas throughout the county. Local residents started bolting their doors. The infrastructure of Miami was not prepared.

     Books have been written about the Mariel Boat Lift and the Cuban crisis. I have great friends of Cuban descent, many of whom have served honorably on the public payroll at my side. But I fear for the survival of our nation if we allow open borders to all who want to come, and declare cities as sanctuaries from law enforcement.  Once that slippery slope is reached, there will be no turning back.

     With an open borders policy for everyone, unbridled immigration by the thousands, or millions, from small nations below Mexico, along with Mexicans, would devastate the southern border states in which all people would suffer, including American taxpayers. The sheer numbers would dwarf the impact of the Mariel boat lift. Much like Miami in the early 1980s, crime would run rampant schools would overflow along with hospitals and jails, and housing would be booming for the tent industry.

     President Trump is doing the right thing in trying to rein in illegal immigration. Without that, American taxpayers would suffer.

     Politicians who declare cities and states as “sanctuary” are extending a welcome mat for law breakers. That makes them law-breakers as well because they are aiding and abetting the those who break our immigration laws. When laws can be broken with impunity, it breeds anarchy. From there, we would cease having a sovereign nation that we have been fighting for over 230 years. Then we’ll look back and scratch our heads:  What did we do wrong?

     Too late.


  1. Eileen August 21, 2018 at 10:23 am #

    Well written, Marshall, and I agree 100%.

  2. Mike Carr August 21, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    Outstanding commentary as usual, Shipmate.

  3. Christopher Jones August 21, 2018 at 10:33 am #

    Very aptly put. Not a political agenda…but just facts.

  4. Donald August 21, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    The same was generally true of immigrants from Vietnam in the 1960 and 1970s. It takes many years to overcome the problems associated with mass migration of people most of whom immediately go on the welfare roles.

  5. marv August 21, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    You site the problems with Mariel, but it should be, my opinion, if using Cuba as a model, compared to the following So Florida Economic Boom that followed in later mass immigration. Your keyword is ” sent.” If I am your enemy, I would “send” to you my lepers; Then I would jail my “Einsteins” in order to save my inherent resource. I reject your conclusion(s).

  6. Just Me August 21, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    Excellent article! I remember all that well.

    A question that should be asked of those who support illegal aliens breaking the law to come here is:
    “If you believe it’s ok for illegal aliens to break the law to come here, then why should any American citizen be forced to follow any laws?”

    You didn’t inject politics into your article but we all know that the Lefty Dems are supporting illegal aliens because it’s all about votes, money and power for the Lefty dems (not necessarily in that order.) And, (and this is a big one) the Lefty Dems want to do anything and everything to hurt President Trump, even get him thrown out of office if possible.

    • Louis August 21, 2018 at 2:04 pm #

      You are 100% correcto!!!!

  7. JANE August 21, 2018 at 11:40 am #


  8. Peter Aydelotte August 21, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    Being a law and order type rather than an anarchist, having lived through those times too, I believe in legal immigration, your conclusions are correct as usual even though some naysayers do not come to those conclusions, they are ignorant at best ….

  9. Richard Plager August 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm #

    I was Police Captain, night shift when all this evil happened; Marshall you are correct to remind us of the stupidity of the Country to allow this to happen. Ask now all the liberals what is I.C.E. and why do they want to stop it; it means Immigration, Customs, Enforcement; a necessary provision that ALL nations of the world utilize to protect their own Country which is their right. The goal of the U.S. Coast Guard is prevention of illegal entry of people and things that have no legal right to be here. That is called Port Security.
    I know; I was commanding officer on Reserve Duty.

    Stay safe.

  10. William H. "Bill" Eadesa August 21, 2018 at 6:30 pm #

    Excellent article! I also worked during these times and think Castro played the United tate
    like you played the Violin we just sat by unable to defend our borders mixed in with the good people were the trash and thugs Cuba wanted to rid themselves of.

  11. Reality August 24, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

    They’re coming here, because we went there. Google Guatemala in 1953, Nicaragua? 3 generations of Somoza received money from American taxpayers? TX belonged to Mexico, and slavery was illegal. Look up “School of the Americas”; how much taxpayer money did it receive to teach torture to the likes of Noriega? Chile, Sept. 11, 1973? “countercoup”, by Kermit Roosevelt-TR’s grandson. He tells how he made Iran back into a monarchy. Where is our faith, that we are just so absolutely terrified of COMMUNISM, which is just naturally doomed to failure?

  12. Fran August 24, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

    Now on news today, ICE arrested a former Nazi guard living in NYC and sent him back to Germany . . . it’s NOT just the Hispanics roaming free in our country.
    Yes, I am old enuf to remember the Mariel boat lift . . .one of many consequences of it was hiring of cops from those on the lift! And they part of the Miami River cops drug shoot out at Rosa’a café, which was right across the street from my office on NW 36th Street!
    What we’ve lived thru my former classmate!

  13. Reality August 26, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    What would the people of Okinawa say? How many Americans for how many years now, on Japanese soil? Americans have always gone wherever they pleased, and stayed, regardless of what the indigenous people think. Former Mayor Bloomberg suggested that illegal immigrants be settled in Detroit. How about West Virginia? There are lots of dying, decrepit towns in America that could use an infusion of hard working immigrants. As to fear of criminals, “e-verify” is a federal system that works, isn’t it? Yet Fl refused to implement it, and Iowa too? Is that why that accused killer was not detected?

  14. paul zecchino September 16, 2018 at 7:39 pm #

    Agree, Marshall. Totally. Thank you for stating the truth. This present illegal immigration will destroy the nation if allowed to persist.