Some insight into the human smuggling of Cubans into the United States

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Here’s a story about the sentencing of the ringleader of a human smuggling operation which brought people from Cuba, through Mexico and into the United States. Including ballplayers like the Rangers’ Leonys Martin:

The Lazo organization smuggled Cubans by boat to Mexico for $10,000 each, more for the baseball players, according to court documents. They would then usually travel to the U.S. border crossing at Laredo, Texas, and ask to be permitted to stay in the U.S. . . . Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Davidson said migrants who couldn’t pay were held for ransom by armed guards, often threatened and sometimes beaten.

A key part of this is that U.S. policy — both the country’s and Major League Baseball’s — help create the circumstances for these kinds of crimes and excesses. The United States’ “wet foot/dry foot” rule which has us deporting Cuban refugees if intercepted at sea but not if they try to enter the U.S. on land encourages people to come through Mexico if they can. Major League Baseball’s policy subjecting Cubans who come directly to the United States from Cuba but allowing them to be free agents if they land in another country first likewise incentivizes this circuitous route.

In both cases, that empowers the middle men who, in this case, happened to be Mexican drug cartels.

Cubs-Cardinals series postponed after more positive tests

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ST. LOUIS — The entire three-game series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis at Busch Stadium was postponed Friday night after two more Cardinals players and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

Major League Baseball announced that the whole weekend set was off. Hours earlier, MLB said Friday night’s game had been scrapped to ensure everyone affected on the Cardinals was identified.

There have been 24 games postponed in the majors this season because of coronavirus concerns.

St. Louis has missed 10 games while Miami and Philadelphia each have had seven postponements. In order to complete the 60-game schedule in this shortened season, the Cardinals will have to play 55 games in 49 games once they return to the field.

The Cardinals have been off since last Friday, when two players returned positive coronavirus tests. Eight St. Louis players in total have tested positive, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

The Cardinals spent five days in quarantine in a Milwaukee hotel before finally being cleared to travel back to St. Louis late Tuesday, when they returned negative tests for the second straight day. They got workouts in at home and had been prepared to return to the field Friday.

St. Louis’ next game is scheduled for Monday at home against Pittsburgh. The Cubs are set to play Tuesday at Cleveland.

MLB released its most recent testing numbers Friday. The league said there were 13,043 samples taken last week with 13 positive results for a 0.1% positive rate. During the monitoring phase, there have been 53,826 overall samples that have returned 71 positives for a 0.1% positive rate. Of those 71 positive results, 49 are players and 22 are staff.

Among the players who confirmed they tested positive for COVID-19 were a pair of All-Stars in Molina and Paul DeJong.

Before Friday’s postponement, the Cardinals had already added three doubleheaders against the Brewers to a previously scheduled series to make up their three games postponed last weekend. Milwaukee will host doubleheaders Sept. 18 and 20 and will serve as the home team in the opener of a twinbill in St. Louis on Sept. 25.

The Cardinals will make up this week’s series against the Detroit Tigers with doubleheaders Aug. 13 and Sept. 10. St. Louis had been scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox at the Field of Dreams in Iowa on Aug. 13. Those teams will play in Chicago on Aug. 14 instead.