President Barak Obama has officially ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy which allowed for nearly all Cuban migrants who set foot on American soil to stay and be eligible for permanent residency, which could then lead to citizenship. Now all Cuban migrants who attempt to enter the U.S. without a visa will be turned away, the same as people from any other country.
The change is policy is due to the “normalization” of relations between Cuba and the United States, as explained in an announcement from the Department of Homeland Security. The move may also look to solidify relations between the United States and Cuban governments, the latter of which had previously complained the policy encouraged Cubans to flee. The administration will continue the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which allows for Cuban immigrants with family members in the U.S. to enter the country as they wait for their visa.
Some Cuban-American politicians have come out against the change in policy. Senator Robert Menendez wrote, “[w]e should never deny a Cuban refugee fleeing a brutal regime entry into the United States.” Representative Mario Diaz-Balart emphasized in a statement that the change was “yet another shameful concession to the Castro regime…denying oppressed Cubans the presumption of political asylum.”