Bush spokesman Blair Jones said Miami Dade was chosen partly because it had made repeated requests and that it's a "first-rate and diverse institution of higher learning."[Bush to speak at Miami Dade College graduation Saturday By Scott Travis South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 27 2007]
How diverse is Miami- Dade these days? These are the demographics of Miami-Dade College, all campuses:
Fall 2001 Credit Student Profile: Ethnic mix: 12 percent, white non-Hispanic; 22 percent, black non-Hispanic; 65 percent, Hispanic; 2 percent, other. 61 percent of Miami-Dade students are female, 39 percent are male.
That may be diverse in some existential sense, but I don't call it an institution that "looks like America"—yet.
Kendall Campus is in Kendall, Florida and here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:
Some of [Kendall's] most famous residents include long-term resident Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General, whose parents built her home by hand; in addition, O.J. Simpson made his home in Kendall after his murder acquittal.
Kendall is also home to one of the largest Colombian American populations in the State of Florida. Over 11,000 Colombians live in the area, mostly concentrated in the western fringes (West of the Florida Turnpike), where they make up over 60 percent of the population in certain neighborhoods (West Kendall, Royal Palms on 134th Ave. and the Hammocks). Interestingly enough, several White non-Hispanic enclaves do exist West of the Turnpike. The Devon Aire neighborhood is over 70 percent non-Hispanic White and its elementary school, Devon Aire Elementary, is heralded as the highest-scoring elementary school (on the statewide FCAT exam) in Miami-Dade county.
The demographics on Kendall show that whites are already a minority, outside the enclaves mentioned above:
The racial makeup of the CDP was 41.6% White, 4.45% African American, 0.14% Native American, 2.99% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.81% from other races, and 3.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49.9% of the population.
Miami-Dade's demographics show that not only are whites a minority in the county, but so are native-born Americans:
The racial makeup of the county was 18.6% White (not Hispanic), 20.5% Black (not Hispanic) (with a large part being of Caribbean descent) and African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 4.58% from other races, and 3.79% from two or more races. 60.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 51.4% of the county residents were born outside the United States, while 67% of the population speaks a language other than English at home.
The speech Bush gave, while officially an education speech, or so it says on the label, was focused on immigration, and contained a lot of pro-immigration rhetoric:
The opportunities of America make our land a beacon of hope for people from every corner of the world. It says something about this college that more than half of the students were raised speaking a language other than English. Some of you are the children and grandchildren of immigrants — who risked everything to give you opportunities they never had. Others of you are immigrants yourself, who came to this country with the hope of a better life and the determination to work for it. Over the years, this school has helped open the door for opportunity for hundreds of thousands of immigrants — and that is why Miami Dade proudly calls itself Democracy's College. (Applause.)
This college has had a significant impact on thousands of our citizens. Take, for example, Gwen Belfon, who graduates today. As a single mother in Trinidad and Tobago, Gwen dreamed of attending college. But she put her own dreams on hold to raise her four children. A few years ago, Gwen came to the United States and enrolled at Miami Dade. Today this proud mother fulfills a lifelong dream. When Gwen crosses the stage this afternoon, she will receive her associate's degree in education. And she's not done yet. Next January, she will return to Miami Dade to start on her bachelor's degree. (Applause.)President Bush Delivers Commencement Address at Miami Dade College
Good for her. But, er, who is paying for all that, and why? If President Bush had been speaking to the Americans for Tax Reform, I doubt if they'd have cheered right at that point.
Really, Miami seems like the apothesis of the Invite-The-World policies of the Bush Administration. When Tom Tancredo called Miami a Third World country at the Renaissance Weekend, he got a lot of grief for saying it—and then when a speech he was supposed to give in Miami was cancelled after bomb threats, threats of mob violence, and a revolt by the staff of the restaurant where he was to speak, we wrote that "We presume this settles once and for all the question of whether Miami is part of the Third World." But it's not just us—this story below is from Time Magazine, written in 2001.
Even believers like Joaquin Blaya are worried that Miami will become another banana republic, bedeviled by huge divisions between the rich and the very poor. There is no doubt that waves of immigrants have put an enormous strain on Miami, both financially and socially. Roughly 140,000 Anglo residents have fled in the past decade, largely in response to the city's growing Hispanic character. Some areas of the city today resemble the Third World, with the homeless and immigrants living under highways or in matchstick houses along canals.
Three times in the past decade, Miami has erupted in racial disturbances — caused in part by blacks frustrated as each new immigrant wave passes them by economically. The black Cuban-American neighborhood of Allapattah now serves as an uneasy buffer between the blacks of Liberty City and the white Cubans and Nicaraguans living in Little Havana. But Dade County board chairman Art Teele, a black who won his job with the backing of the commission's new Latino members, doesn't see race as the problem. "There is some lingering resentment by the blacks," he admits, "but today they are just as resentful of the Haitians arriving."
Miami: the Capital of Latin America, Time Magazine, Sunday, Jun. 24, 2001 By Cathy Booth
This is what Bush describes in his speech as "one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in our nation. ." And it seems to be his plan for the rest of the United States, as well.