Obama is lifting the policy that allows illegal Cuban immigrants to stay in the country. The 22-year-old policy states that Cubans can remain in United States soil without visas and gain legal residency. This is also known as “wet foot, dry foot” policy. The ending of the policy by the Obama administration is also an unexpected move long sought by the Cuban government.
President Obama said in a statement that the policy gets lifted immediately. The US President made it clear that Cuban nationals, who plan to make an unlawful entry to the United States soil and do not qualify for humanitarian relief, will be subject to removal. The U.S. will ask illegal migrants to return to Cuba.
— Marion Smith (@smithmarion) January 13, 2017
Lifting of Cuban immigrant policy: What will happen
The implementation is consistent with US law and enforcement priorities. Cuban migrants will have the same treatment as those migrants from other countries. The policy change comes in a week before Obama ends his administration. The two countries continue to iron out its relationship. The policy change is one of its priorities. President Obama even made history by visiting the island nation last year.
The wet foot, dry foot policy is a revision in 1995 on the Cuban Adjustment Act. President Obama worked on to eliminate the isolation of Cuba in the US migration policy. The U.S. will send Cubans back to their country, especially those caught in the waters between two countries – Cuba and America. In a report from the NY Times, the policy will prevent mass migrations of Cubans to the US. But, it still recognizes the political implications of returning Cubans especially on the Cuban-American community against the Castro government.
There were differing views on the announcement on the policy change. NBC news reported that Josefina Vidal, the Cuban foreign ministry’s director general of the department of the U.S., said it can solve a major problem regarding the normalization of migration relations. Vidal also added that Congress should repeal the law.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio described the change in policy as absurd. Rubio felt that it is a failure. He also added that Obama is even responsible for the increased migration to the US.
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