Florida Straits patrol seen as long-term task

United States Coast Guard and Navy patrols aimed at discouraging Americans from sailing for Cuba to pick up refugees will have to be continued indefinitely , says Victor H. Palmieri, US coordinator for refugee affairs.

"I think unquestionably we're going to have a very expensive and difficult, long drawn-out task of protecting our borders," Mr. Palmieri told the Monitor. "We're going to maintain [immigration law] enforcement and call on Miami Cuban-Americans to emphasize the American rather than the Cuban part of their heritage."

Mr. Palmieri also said that Americans should prepare for most of the Cuban refugees to remain in this country rather than settling in Latin America or elsewhere.

"Most of the refugees who come to this country are not interested in going to other countries," he said. "The UNHCR [United Nations High Commission on Refugees] will be of great assistance in resettlement, but we should not be waiting breathlessly for other countries to relieve us of a large share of these people who come here. Most of them have relatives in the United States, and would want to be here for that reason," or for the economic opportunities.

Mr. Palmieri said the US will have to achieve a balance between "our concerns for Americans, particularly our own disadvantaged minorities," during difficult economic times, and for "persecuted people from abroad."

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