The end of “Wet foot, dry foot”

By Jesús Sierra Monday, January 16, 2017 comments

Pablo Escudero

In order to treat all migrants equally, Obama overturned the policy.


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.


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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.


20580589959_22c820b24a_kOriginal 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.


5513608920_a8d6363c80_bOriginal image, “SPECIAL INTEREST ILLEGALS” by SS&SS, under CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr


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.