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Obama Eliminates Wet Foot-Dry Foot Policy For Cuban Immigrants

Obama Eliminates Wet Foot-Dry Foot Policy For Cuban Immigrants / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Miami, 12 January 2017 –The Obama administration today put an
end to the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, which allowed Cubans to obtain
permanent residence one year after arriving in the United States, even
if they arrive illegally, as long as they manage to touch land in the
country.

According to an official of the Obama administration, the measure, which
will take effect immediately, puts an end to a policy adopted in 1995,
during the so-called “Rafter Crisis,” which allows Cubans who touch
American soil (“dry foot”) to be admitted to the United States, while
those who are intercepted at sea (“wet foot”) are returned to Cuba.

The end of this policy has been an longstanding demand of the Cuban
government in order to advance the politics of normalization in
bilateral relations between the former enemies, which began in December
of 2014.

This policy is an amendment to the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which
gives authority to the US Attorney General to allow Cubans who have
entered the country, both legally and illegally, to obtain permanent
residence one year after their arrival.

Although only Congress can repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act itself, the
wording of the legislation gives the Attorney General great flexibility
in implementing it, so it is not yet clear how the Obama administration
intends to manage the situation.

According to the Associated Press, the Cuban Professional Medical Parole
program is also ended; that program welcomed Cuban physicians who
managed to escape the island’s government, and was especially targeted
to medical professionals working on “international missions” outside of
Cuba.

The change in this policy comes just one week before Obama relinquishes
power on 20 January to President-elect Donald Trump, who has threatened
to end Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the island,
unless the Cuban government signs “a better deal” with him.

Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on 17 December 2014 a
historic thaw to end a half-century of enmity and hostilities.

That reestablishment of relations was formalized with the reopening of
embassies in Washington and Havana on 20 July 2015, and was furthered
with Obama’s visit to the island in March of last year, when he became
the first US president in office to visit Cuba in 88 years.

Source: Obama Eliminates Wet Foot-Dry Foot Policy For Cuban Immigrants /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba –
translatingcuba.com/obama-eliminates-wet-foot-dry-foot-policy-for-cuban-immigrants-14ymedio/

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