On Friday, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, a first-generation Cuban-American, appeared on the Spanish-language radio show " Actualidad Radio" to discuss illegal immigration and Cuban exiles, where her two-tiered response to a question about illegal immigration, and the amount of Cubans illegally crossing the southern border drew the ire of Florida Democrats, including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Fried, who is running in a Democratic gubernatorial primary race against Rep. Charlie Crist, was quick to denounce Nuñez's immigration comments, saying that the remarks were "wildly inappropriate words from Ron DeSantis' LG," adding," Fleeing communism and tyranny to a state rich with family and culture only to be deported north by bus is cruel and wrong."
Fried seems to believe the first-generation Cuban-American Nuñez is in favor of sending her fellow Cubans further north to get back at Biden.
Nuñez began her answer by arguing the point that the current border crisis “not only impacts those states on the border” and that just because Florida is not a border state, Floridians are “feeling the impact, and will continue to “keep feeling it.”
Nuñez then addressed the influx of Cuban immigrants coming in along the southern border as a result of the “Biden border crisis.”
“And as you explained, those numbers—even if it were a portion, a part—those numbers that have come through the border from Cuba, you can be completely sure that where they want to arrive, the final place where they want to go is Florida. There is no doubt about that,” stated Nuñez.
Nuñez added that while Florida, all states, do not “have jurisdiction over immigration,” the state does have “jurisdiction over the well-being of our residents, our communities.”
In addition, she said that that that reason, Gov. Ron DeSantis worked with the Republican-led state legislature “to get funds to try to assure that those persons that come, that come illegally, once again,” are made accountable for their actions.
Nuñez stayed on message, slamming the Biden administration for their failures on dealing with illegal immigration.
“It is an irresponsibility on the part of Biden and his whole administration to not deal with this problem," said Nuñez specifically about the overall illegal immigration problem. In regards to the Cuban immigration issue, Nuñez stated," This is going to be worse than Mariel, worse than everything that occurred and happened, that impacts in the 1980s and to not do anything is not an option."
The Floridian Publisher Javier Manjarres, who is Colombian-American and fluent in Spanish, translated the entire exchange between Nunez and the radio show host.
Manjarres found that outside of a few minor differences in the translation NBC's Marc Caputo posted, the overall translation was accurate.
Note: Caputo states "South Florida" but the host clearly stated, "Miami-Dade County." This is important. Also, the host also states that "probably in 8-10 months we are going to have another 180,000?"
Manjarres' Translation of the question: If we only take half of the amount that have come to South Florida, half of 180,000 would be 90,000 new Cuban residents in 10 months, predominantly in Miami-Dade County. You all in the State government have some statistics, do you have some sign, how this is impacting, or how it will impact this because the trend continues. The News said that an average of 22,000 every month are entering and it appears as if the Biden government does not want to anything to close the border.
In other words, we have 22,000 this month, 22,000 next month, October, November, December, and probably in 8-10 more months, we will have another 180,000?
This Caputo's translation:
Subsequently, Christina Pushaw, DeSantis' former press secretary and new Rapid Response Director, quickly called out Fried for "spreading disinformation." Additionally, Pushaw clarifies that Nuñez made a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. Cubans are considered legal immigrants because they are "fleeing a dictatorship to the nearest safe country."
"Nikki Fried is spreading disinformation. Here’s what @JeanetteNunezFL actually said. She drew the distinction between “legal” and “illegal” immigrants, which the Left intentionally ignores. Cubans are legally refugees bc they are fleeing a dictatorship to the nearest safe country," Pushaw's full statement says.
Nikki Fried is spreading disinformation. Here’s what @JeanetteNunezFL actually said. She drew the distinction between “legal” and “illegal” immigrants, which the Left intentionally ignores. Cubans are legally refugees bc they are fleeing a dictatorship to the nearest safe country https://t.co/dDtIzvRtIY pic.twitter.com/tB6AtUk0pH
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) August 20, 2022
Similarly, Nuñez's Chief of Staff Nikki Whiting says that Fried "clearly doesn't speak Spanish" and further drives home the clarification that Nuñez was speaking of two different things.
"Clearly Nikki Fried doesn’t speak Spanish. The Lt. Governor spoke about two different things: the influx of Cubans at the border and the Governor’s efforts to tackle Biden’s reckless border policies," Whiting responded.
The Floridian could not reach Nuñez for comment.