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Obama consigns 'wet foot, dry foot' law to history


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Obama consigns 'wet foot, dry foot' law to history

US President Barack Obama has ended the immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who reached US soil to remain and be granted residency.

The end of the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy comes after months of negotiation between Washington and Havana.

The abolition means Cubans need visas to enter the United States.

Josafina Videl is the Director General of the Department of the United States at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“With the adoption of this Joint Declaration today, a migratory crisis trigger is eliminated. The United States achieves safe, orderly and legal migration from Cuba. The trafficking of people and other related offenses are discouraged.”

In 1995, following the Cuban Rafter Crisis, the Clinton administration introduced the ‘wet foot, dry foot law, which allowed those Cuban émigrés that reached dry land to remain in the US, while those found at sea would be returned to Cuba.

Cubans in Miami, notoriously anti-Castro, appear ready to accept the new immigration deal:“I think that’s a very good idea of the American government to stop the Cubans to come here except for those Cubans who have done something against Castro and who are escaping from the Cuban government. But all those people that come here just to live here and it’s been one year and one day and then go back to Cuba and take all the money that they make to Cuba. I’m against that. I’m a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion,” said this Cuban American living in Miami.

In Havana the new visa requirement means the end of an era and is a little frustrating: “Cubans want, I don’t know, to live in another country and that is the only way they see how to do it. To live their legally. I don’t think the US and Cuban governments should have ended the deal because the migrants make sacrifices and many have risked their lives to realise their dreams,” said one Havana resident.

Those Cubans stranded along the border with Mexico looking to get into the US face an even greater obstacle, Donald Trump and his much clarioned wall.

Last year some 54,000 Cubans crossed from Mexico in the United States.

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