Thursday, February 10, 2022
Communications Department - Archdiocese of Miami
Archbishop Thomas Wenski read this statement at a press conference held at the archdiocesan Pastoral Center, Feb. 10, 2022, in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ roundtable discussion on immigration during his visit to Miami, Feb. 7, 2022.
At Governor DeSantis’ Monday meeting with a few former Pedro Pan kids in Miami’s Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, he described any comparison of unaccompanied minors from Cuba in the early 60’s with those from Central America today as “disgusting”. This was a new low in the zero-sum politics of our divisive times. Children are children — and no child should be deemed “disgusting” — especially by a public servant.
The lack of solidarity of this group of former unaccompanied minors from Cuba with similarly situated children today was disappointing. Even while recognizing the good care afforded them by Catholic Charities 60 years ago, they begrudge that same care being extended to migrant children today. Msgr. Bryan O. Walsh, the revered “father” of the Operation Pedro Pan children, is rolling over in his grave.
The event was political theater attacking Biden’s admittedly chaotic immigration policies. It showed that the governor has a powerful machine in South Florida capable of mobilizing (and manipulating) a segment of our community to advance his political agenda — but his bullying of kids also showed weakness.
The success of the Pedro Pan kids made possible by the freedom and opportunity of this great land makes clear that magnanimity rather than mean-spiritedness is a “best practice” in resolving our immigration challenges.