NBC Misfired On Gun Story, But Did Report On Cubans Screwed Over By Obama's Last Immigration Actions

Posted: Feb 23, 2017 1:00 PM

NBC News may have misfired on their story about so-called “ghost guns,” but on their site—they actually reported on something that’s been mostly drowned out by the rest of the news media: how Obama screwed over immigrants.

In the wake of the Trump White House’s executive action on immigration, namely the travel moratorium placed on several predominately Muslim countries; stories about how people are stranded or detained have riddled the cycle. Prior to Trump’s inauguration (Jan. 12), President Obama ended the wet foot, dry foot policy—but he also torched the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program. Cuban doctors who wanted to escape their communist hellhole used this program, but since Obama’s last minute executive actions—he’s left Cuban doctors stranded. NBC News and Ed Morrissey had more:

When Adrian Lezcano Rodriguez, a physical therapist from Cuba, was chosen to serve on a "mission" in the small town of Maroa in the Amazon rainforest of Venezuela, he knew he would defect. He would make his way to the U.S. embassy in Colombia, and apply for the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program (CMPP), which up until January 12, allowed certain Cuban medical personnel to apply for U.S. visas.

Lezcano spent around 20 days in the jungle town working in a small clinic, which only had electricity for about two hours a day. He ate once a day, usually lunch.


When he finally arrived at the border with Colombia the night of January 12, Lezcano found out that just a few hours earlier, former President Barack Obama had ended the CMPP. It took another day to get to the capital in Bogotá, where he tried to speak to someone at the U.S. embassy, but he was turned away. "I was so frustrated," he said.

Lezcano lives in a house with nine other Cubans who have been left in an unusual situation. He has run out of money and sometimes goes two days without eating.

Just like Lezcano, there are over a dozen Cuban doctors and other medical professionals who abandoned their posts in Venezuela and were in transit to the U.S. embassy in Bogotá when the parole program was abruptly ended.


Raúl Castro applauded the end of the CMPP. The government always said the program robbed the island of professionals they had educated. But according to health care workers, the "missions' are equivalent to indentured servitude. They are pressured to meet a quota of patients per day, their accommodations are meager and they are paid a small fraction of what the Cuban government receives for their services. They say the parole program was their only way out.


Reversing Obama's policy on the medical program seems like an easy maneuver for Trump, according to William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University who coauthored "Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana." He said, "the problem is that if he does reinstate the parole program, the Cubans may back away from their willingness to cooperate on immigration more broadly."


In the past few years, the number of Cubans applying to the program more than tripled, according to numbers provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In fiscal year 2014, a total of 1,208 applications were submitted and 76 percent were approved. But by fiscal year 2016, the number of applicants soared to 3,907 and 86 percent of those were paroled.

Ed said that maybe the liberal mindset is that this is all part of the thawing between our two countries—and that tourism will bring a new enlightenment to a country that we almost bombed back into the stone age in 1962. Yet, he noted that a) tourism has also been part of the Cuban economy; b) credit cards aren’t accepted from U.S. banks; and c) there’s been no new enlightenment. So, the Obama administration, by ending wet foot, dry foot and the CMPP, decided to leave power by screwing over Cuban refugees. Might as well go after the immigrant group, who once they become American citizens, usually vote Republican, right? In the meantime, let's hope the Trump administration reinstates the program. 

As for the media coverage over Obama closing the door on Cuban refugees, ABC, NBC, and CBS only spent 68 seconds on it combined. Mike Ciandella at Newsbusters crunched the numbers:

On January 30, the first weekday morning after President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order which temporarily banned immigration from several Middle East countries, the networks devoted 64 minutes, 8 seconds of coverage to this topic.

However, on January 12, then-President Obama ordered the ending of America’s longstanding “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which had allowed Cuban refugees entrance to the United States. But the broadcast networks were largely silent. Between them, ABC, CBS and NBC only spent 68 seconds during their news coverage the following morning – nearly 57 times the coverage from Trump’s policy change than Obama’s.