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America will, per a new last-minute decree from Obama, no longer automatically grant asylum to Cubans who make it to US shores. Instead, Cuban refugees (and they really are refugees from that island hellhole) will automatically be sent back to Cuba, overturning a policy that has been in effect since Castro seized control of the island nation. The current policy (known as Wet Foot / Dry Foot) was a product of the Clinton administration, and stipulated that Cubans had to actually touch US soil, where before they were given asylum merely for being picked up at sea.
I cannot help but think that this is part of Obama’s attempts to poke as many people as he can on his way out the door, for Obama must know that such people, when returned to Cuba, are likely to be imprisoned.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is ending a longstanding immigration policy that allows any Cuban who makes it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, a senior administration official said Thursday.
The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy is effective immediately, according the official. 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.
The U.S. and Cuba planned to issue a joint statement late Thursday. The official insisted on anonymity in order to detail the change ahead of the announcement.
The official said the Cubans gave no assurances about treatment of those sent back to the country, but said political asylum remains an option for those concerned about persecution if they return.
The “wet foot, dry foot” policy was put in place in 1995 by President Bill Clinton as a revision of a more liberal immigration policy. Until then, Cubans caught at sea trying to make their way to the United States were allowed into the country and were able to become legal residents after a year. The U.S. was reluctant to send people back to the communist island then run by Fidel Castro, and the Cuban government also generally refused to accept repatriated citizens.
The Cuban government has in the past complained bitterly about the special immigration privileges, saying they encourage Cubans to risk dangerous escape trips and drain the country of professionals. But it has also served as a release valve for the single-party state, allowing the most dissatisfied Cubans to seek better lives outside and become sources of financial support for relatives on the island.
For a look at the cultural impact of our Cuba policy, I recommend everyone to pick up a copy of Back to Blood, by Thomas Wolfe. I also suggest viewing Peter Robinson’s interview with Wolfe, given shortly after the book came out.Published in