OPINION

Rick Sanchez: I am a political refugee too

Migrants try to stay dry and warm at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos on October 23, 2015 in Mitilini, Greece.

Migrants try to stay dry and warm at the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos on October 23, 2015 in Mitilini, Greece.  (2015 Getty Images)

I cannot in good conscience oppose refugees fleeing oppression, because that was once me. I’m a political refugee. My parents chose to flee Cuba at the beginning of what was feared would become a Marxist revolution. The fear was well-founded.

If Americans in the 60s had said what many are saying now, I would never have been allowed to come to the United States. I don’t know why Americans seem so much more cowardly now, but I suspect it may have something to do with what they are fed by a news media hell-bent on keeping us afraid. 

We shouldn’t fear widows and orphans who are running from the very Daesh (ISIS) members that have massacred their friends and families. They are the victims, if not the enemies of our enemies, and while we should be wary — the door should not be slammed in their faces.    

- Rick Sanchez

What if Cuban refugees like myself would have been told, "Sorry, we’re too afraid of Fidel Castro’s agents to let you in for fear you may be one of them."  If that had taken place, two U.S. senators would not be running for president. 

Both Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are indirect recipients of the U.S.’s generosity and acceptance of immigrants. They got theirs, and now they lead the charge against those who they believe are less deserving than them. How insanely hypocritical and arrogant is that?  

The U.S. did not slam the door in the face of Cruz or Rubio’s fathers, yet that’s exactly what they along with 27 governors want to do to “all” Syrian refugees.

The concern is understandable, the vetting process should be rigorous, the apoplectic, 24/7 news coverage is frightening, and it’s meant to scare the hell out of us. Neither our politicians, nor our media leaders are fair enough to provide us with perspective. They prefer to whip up the masses with fear to drive up their ratings and/or poll numbers, nuance and facts be damned.

At last count, 129 people were killed in Paris and it has set off a media and political storm the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time. Comparatively, when we learned that more than 200 died in the Russian downed plane, the reaction and coverage was at best muted. As it was with the killing of more than 200 in Nigeria where insurgents are slitting throats of residents, looting and burning homes, and abducting dozens of trapped women and children.

On most weekends, somewhere between 150 to 200 people are gunned down in the streets of the U.S. — where’s the apoplectic coverage?  Where are the angry speeches about that? Do Nigerians matter less than the French? Do the Russians? Do Americans? How about the cartels killing indiscriminately in Honduras, making San Pedro Sula the most dangerous city in the world? Do Hondurans matter less?  

Yes, it’s easy in an environment of fear and loathing to call for extreme measures, but we should be better than that. There is nothing wrong with calling for a review of our screening system. Nor is it wrong to make our vetting process even more stringent, but that is not what the usual, hysterical, anti-everything crowd is screaming for. They want it “shut down,” “don’t take them.”    

Fact is, we shouldn’t fear widows and orphans who are running from the very Daesh (ISIS) members that have massacred their friends and families. They are the victims, if not the enemies of our enemies, and while we should be wary — the door should not be slammed in their faces.         

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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