US President Barack Obama took another step toward “melting” his country’s relationship with Cuba by ending the policy known as “dry feet, wet feet” for Cuban migrants.
In a statement, Obama made a crucial decision in his last days as president, “effective immediately, Cubans who try to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian assistance will be deported,” the document said.
National Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that the motive for making this decision is “to treat migrants (Cubans) in the same way as others, especially those in the same region, and to equalize migration policies.“
Original image, “02.CubanProtest.WDC.22October1994” by ElvertBarnes, under CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr
The “Parole” program for Cuban medical professionals, which allowed those who participated in brigades or studied abroad and decided to defect, was also revoked. In response, Cuba committed itself to accepting citizens who are deported.
The Cuban authorities considered this a “breakthrough” that will end the encouragement of “irregular migration, to migrant smuggling and irregular entry into the United States from third countries” such as Mexico.
Data from the New York Times indicated that in 2015, 43 thousand 159 Cuban migrants arrived in the United States, 78 percent more than in the previous year and in 2016 the figure reached 63 thousand, according to the newspaper, the majority across the Mexican border.