Florida's junior Senator Melquiades Martinez won his 2004 election by only 70,000 votes. His victory was uncertain until his Democratic opponent Betty Castor conceded the next morning.
But, despite his narrow winning margin, Cuban-born Martinez is wielding disproportionate influence on U.S. immigration policy. Martinez's radical views on amnesty and guest workers threaten American's future
Martinez is the co-author of the Hagel-Martinez S. 2611—another amnesty for illegal aliens. (Remember that since the IRCA Law of 1986, seven additional amnesties have followed.)
To review: S.2611 would legalize and ultimately grant citizenship to 14.4 million people.
Here's how the Center for Immigration Studies, based on an analysis of the IRCA Law of 1986, breaks down its figures that it projects as "conservative":
[Center for Immigration Studies, Amnesty Under Hagel-Martinez: An Estimate of How Many Will Legalize if S. 2611 Becomes Law, June 2006]
Martinez, unfortunately for Americans who favor sane immigration policies, is one of those supremely dangerous charitable types.
In 1962, Martinez came to Orlando, Florida at the age of 15 as part of "Operation Pedro Pan", a humanitarian program developed by the Catholic Welfare Bureau ( Catholic Charities) and sanctioned by the State Department. This program waived visa requirements for about 14,000 young children who, with their parent's permission, traveled unaccompanied to the U.S. to escape Fidel Castro's communist indoctrination.
Like many children, Martinez lived in foster homes until his family joined him four years later.
According to Martinez's Senate website, his experiences as a teenage Cuban refugee living in Florida instilled "a strong sense of community and the need to give back to this country."
Martinez's pay back, then, is S. 2611? His "need to give back to this country" is a bill that would destroy what's left of the America he remembers from the 1960s when he emigrated from Sagua La Grande?
A close look at Martinez's record—then and now—shows that he has always been a snake.
Martinez, once a Democrat and former president of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers, moved quickly up the political ladder when he became George W. Bush's Florida's co-Chairman of the 2000 Election.
As his reward for a job well done (helping deliver Florida's electoral votes to the Republicans), Bush appointed Martinez, until then unknown outside of Florida, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
During his tenure at HUD, Martinez is best remembered for three things:
Creating affordable housing (no money down) for minorities and looking the other way while illegal aliens obtained home mortgages with nothing more than a Taxpayer Identification Number and a Matricula Consular card.
Being the highest ranking Hispanic in the Bush Cabinet, Bush's public relations liaison with Hispanic communities, and the guest of choice on Spanish-speaking television programs.
Most importantly, Martinez was Bush's bagman. A 2003 National Journal article gave Martinez a "C" for his work at HUD but an "A" for carrying out Bush's "compassionate conservative" agenda. [ Martinez: Refugee, Lawyer, Politician, Steve Bousquet and Bill Adir, St. Petersburg Times, July 18, 2004]
In 2004 Martinez, encouraged by Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, resigned from HUD to run in the Florida primary for Senate.
"I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. I support a plan that matches workers with needy employers without providing a path to citizenship. Immigration to this country must always be done through legal means."
But Martinez soon tipped his pro-immigration bias
At the 2004 Republican National Convention, encouraging the re-election of President Bush, Martinez said:
"I have lived the American dream, and I am determined to ensure the possibility of that dream for others."
Later in the same speech, Martinez segued into Spanish:
"Tengo el honor de haber trabajado para el Presidente que mas ha logrado para la comunidad Hispana." (I have the honor of having worked for the President who has done the most for the Hispanic community.)
Another clue that Martinez was driven by a pro-Hispanic, anti-American agenda came during his first speech on the Senate floor.
Safely elected, Martinez had the audacity to address it in Spanish without warning.
During his speech, Martinez urged the Senate to confirm Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General—saying that it would "resonate" with Latinos.
Martinez's ploy was so disrespectful that even Spanish speakers were offended.
Eduardo Montalvo, an occasional editorialist from Central Florida at HispanicVista.Com wrote, in his column encouraging English as the nation's official language, that Martinez's action was "a stunt" and a "political maneuver." [ Lawmaker Makes History: Speaking Spanish in Senate, Martinez Pays Tribute to Attorney General Nominee Gonzales, by Judy Holland, San Francisco Chronicle, February 3, 2005]
Martinez has another immigration goal…liberalizing the already generous " wet foot, dry foot" policy that allows Cubans who reach U.S. soil to apply for permanent residency within a year. (Those interdicted at sea are repatriated to Cuba.)
Citing his personal background as an cause, Martinez feels that anyone fleeing Communist Cuba en route to U.S. freedom should be allowed to stay whether they make it to land or not. [ Freedom and the Wet Foot, Dry Foot Policy, Roberto Iraola, Jurist, May 1, 2006]
What can explain Martinez's behavior? Martinez isn't motivated by White House dreams. Since he is not a natural born citizen Martinez cannot, under the U.S. Constitution, become either president or vice-president.
The fact that opening the doors to millions more poor, unskilled immigrants would be ruinous to the U.S. does not concern Martinez.
Martinez reminds me of another U.S. Senator with a compelling personal story who has managed to fool a lot of people—Arizona's John McCain.
But time has caught up with both Martinez and McCain. And we see them now for what they are—traitors.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.