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Trump’s Sanctuary Cities ‘Threat’ Echoes Castro’s Mariel Boatlift Spin

Like the Cubans who came in the Mariel boatlift, most immigrants aren’t criminals. The Trump proposal to let them into U.S. cities shows he knows that.
A U.S. Marine helps a young Cuban child off a refugee boat in Key West, Florida on May 10, 1980.
A U.S. Marine helps a young Cuban child off a refugee boat in Key West, Florida on May 10, 1980.Fernando Yovera/AP

If Trump and his advisers were trying to take a page from Fidel Castro’s playbook, when he overwhelmed then President Jimmy Carter by allowing thousands to migrate in the Mariel Boatlift that began 39 years ago this week, they read it wrong. The Trump Administration’s proposal may inadvertently reveal their recognition of a truth they have tried hard to obscure: Most immigrants to the U.S. are neither criminal nor dangerous.

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had considered a proposal to force people from immigrant detention centers onto buses and drop them in U.S. “sanctuary cities.” These municipalities, ranging from Santa Fe, to San Francisco, to New York, have taken measures to limit public employees’ collaboration with federal deportation agents. Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initially rejected the White House proposition, arguing that it presented liability concerns and “PR risks.” Trump has since revived the plan on Twitter, but it seems unlikely to move forward.