Some headlines write the story.

That’s today’s oh-so-ironic headline in my e-mail 5-minute Miami Herald (subscription, free).

I do not in any way wish to encourage discussion about the item before the semi-colon. This is strictly a behind-the-semi-colon report. (At least for me.)

In a nutshell: “… scores of older Cuban immigrants” — ‘member how much the GOP wants them? — are being denied “disability checks that are considered one of America’s last-ditch social safety nets, according to a pair of public service lawyers” who are being deluged by desperate immigrants.

Take the case of Barbara Diaz (wonder if Sen. Martinez ever heard about her plight before he picked up today’s Miami Herald):

‘I don’t regret coming to this country because it’s the best in the world,” said Diaz, 71. “But I thought I would have this help, and I don’t.”

Diaz was counting on receiving Supplemental Security Income, or SSI — monthly benefits of up to $570 [WOW]…

Because of an obscure 2001 policy change by the Social Security Administration, which oversees SSI:

SSI benefits to Cuban immigrants [are paid] only if they arrived via the dry-foot policy, which basically means they fled successfully to the United States without a visa and often by rafts or go-fast boats. Cubans who, like Diaz, arrived on tourist visas but then overstayed them were denied.

And I wonder how much consideration Sen. Martinez gives funding for legal aid offices:

Lawyers Jose Fons and Lizel Gonzalez of Legal Services of Greater Miami said Cuban clients who have been denied benefits have flooded their offices the past two years. They now have almost 200 clients in the same predicament.

Legal Services of Greater Miami — you can donate at their site — depends for part of its funding on the federal Legal Services Corporation.

Imagine my surprise when I read, at the Brennan Center site:

As a consequence of federal restrictions Congress adopted in 1996 and renewed in subsequent years, many categories of immigrants are completely prohibited from qualifying for the legal assistance provided by civil legal aid programs that receive some federal funding from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In some states, state-level funding restrictions (often modeled on the federal LSC restrictions) disqualify immigrants from obtaining legal assistance financed with state funds too. …

:more below:
(Note: The Brennan Center at NYU takes its cue from the “spirit” of Justice William Brennan and focuses on democracy, poverty, and criminal justice. The Center’s “Access to Justice” and “Poverty Program” are focusing on immigrants’ access to legal aid, including the LSC. For a freeper view of LSC, see “CONGRESS CONTINUES LSC SUBSIDIES FOR LEFT-WING ACTIVISTS.”)

I wonder what Tom Delay and Bill Frist think of LSC. (I didn’t check. Just another snarky question from me.)

Both Cuba and the U.S. are playing politics with elderly people’s lives:

”Immigration law is supposed to serve this community, but the government is leaving them out to dry,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the Cuban government seems to be sending its retired and disabled citizens to the United States as tourists.

For example, Nuris Morales, 68, said when she left Cuba in 2000, officials there said “it was the year of the elderly and they were giving visas to the elderly in the United States.”

Ah. The year of the elderly. And not just in Cuba. Every four years, it’s the year of the elderly here.

Maybe Barbara Diaz will get Congressional help when she’s on a feeding tube.

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