The United States eliminated the policy that allowed Cuban citizens to obtain residency in the country, even after entering it illegally. The American country will now treat them as immigrants from any other nation.
The United States eliminated the mechanism known as “dry foot, wet foot”, whereby Cuban migrants intercepted at sea were sent back to their country, but those who landed, even without having any kind of visa, could remain in the country and benefit from different mechanisms to obtain the permanent residency.
“Dry Foot, Wet Foot” was the result of a 1995 amendment to the Cuban Adjustment Act, originally adopted by the United States in 1966, in the middle of the ideological conflict of the Cold War.
It is now the policy of the Department of Homeland Security to consider any request for conditional admission in the same way as the requests submitted by citizens from other countries,
declared Secretary of Security Jeh Johnson.
According to Johnson, it was an outdated policy.
The United States also annulled a program that allowed Cuban doctors to apply for conditional admission while being in another country.
The government is also designing changes in administrative regulations to allow Cubans who were not accepted in the country to be expedited removed, a measure that wasn’t possible before.
However, the Cuban Adjustment Act remains in force. By that law, the US Attorney-General has the power to grant permanent residency (the green card) to a Cuban citizen who has been admitted, even if conditionally, and has physically been in the United States for at least one year. That is why it was enough for a Cuban citizen to arrive in the United States or territorial waters and apply for asylum: a year later that person would have had permanent residency, a benefit that immigrants from any other country never had.
In addition, it is still in force The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program.
Finally, the United States maintains its commitment to legally admit 20,000 Cubans a year.
According to the US government, the implementation of special admission policies for Cuban immigrants was due to the existence of “unique circumstances ” such as the conditions in Cuba, the lack of diplomatic relations between both countries and the general denial of the Cuban government to accept the repatriation of its citizens. Cuba recently amended its regulations in this regard.