President Barack Obama announced Thursday he is ending a longstanding immigration policy that allows any Cuban who makes it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident.
The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy is effective immediately. The decision follows months of negotiations focused in part on getting Cuba to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.
“Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal, consistent with U.S. law and enforcement priorities,” Obama said in a statement.
The Cuban government praised the move. In a statement read on state television, it called the signing of the agreement “an important step in advancing relations” between the U.S. and Cuba that “aims to guarantee normal, safe and ordered migration.”
Denying Cubans refugee status has nothing to do with cracking down on illegal immigration, it is just a parting gift to Castro’s Cuba.