As a Cuban immigrant who arrived in Florida during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, I can attest to the profound impact of President Carter’s policies on our lives. His swift response to our arrival was a lifeline for the 125,000 Cuban refugees who sought safety and opportunity in the United States.
President Carter understood the immediate need for assistance and created a plan of action that allowed us to enter the country quickly and safely. His compassion and selflessness were evident in his commitment to providing refuge for those who had lost everything in Cuba. His actions were not without challenges, as the influx of refugees created a burden on public resources and cultural tensions with the American residents of south Florida. However, President Carter remained steadfast in his dedication to helping us start our new lives.
Through grants towards education programs and job training programs, President Carter gave us the tools we needed to settle down quickly and confidently to begin our new lives. He ensured that we had access to essential services like healthcare and welfare benefits, which were critical to our survival in a new country. His policies helped us start anew with hope for the future, something many of us had lost amidst the turmoil back home or during our perilous journey across the sea. His decisions saved countless lives and allowed families to stay together despite the political conflict happening 90 miles from the shores of the United States. His policies created strong communities within Florida, built on a shared struggle for freedom and opportunity.
President Carter’s policies allowed me and thousands of other refugees to build a new life in America and contribute to our new home, many of us becoming entrepreneurs and productive members of society. The impact of his decision forty years ago is still felt today, and his legacy as a champion for human rights and justice inspires me to fight for those who can’t be heard or understood. As the CEO of Dialog-One, my purpose is to provide high-quality human translation services in over 200 languages to help refugees, like myself, settle into their new country. We do this work in support of professional service providers such as teachers, doctors, lawyers, and business owners to communicate effectively with immigrant families. As a Cuban immigrant, I am forever grateful to President Carter for his compassion, generosity, and leadership. His work will continue to produce social justice for generations to come.