In 1995, the Cuban Adjustment Act was revised after President Clinton’s negotiations with the Cuban government. In its previous interpretation, any people who were intercepted in U.S. waters off the coast of Florida would be allowed to remain in the U.S. After this negotiation, people intercepted on the water would be sent home, but those who made it to shore would be allowed to stay, and one year later would be allowed to pursue legal permanent residency.
This held true until President Obama overturned this policy with one of his final acts on January 12th. At the same time, the Cuban government agreed to start accepting Cuban citizens who had been issued a deportation order in the United States, something the Communist nation has refused to do.
When announcing the end of the policy, President Obama stated “By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries.” The President also noted that those who qualified for humanitarian aid would still be afforded the ability to remain in the country.
The move has been met with praise from those looking to expand and encourage U.S. relations with Cuba, which have been sour for decades. “Individuals on both sides of the U.S.-Cuba debate recognize and agree that ending ‘wet foot, dry foot’ is in our national interest,” said Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. ”It’s a move that brings our Cuba policy into the modern era, while allowing the United States to continue its generous approach to those individuals and refugees with a legitimate claim for asylum.”
Others have not been so thrilled, citing that escape to the United States has long been the only option for people looking to escape Cuba’s many human rights violations against its people.
Impact on Cuban Immigration
By ending this policy, the path to legal residency just became far more difficult for Cuban nationals seeking freedom from their home country. While the United States will still continue to accept at least 20,000 Cubans each year, they will only come through traditional channels. If you are a Cuban national seeking refuge in the United States, it’s important that you seek a Boca Raton immigration attorney as soon as possible.
Guerra Sáenz, PL has assisted hundreds of people with their immigration issues, including acquiring visas, securing asylum status, deportation hearings and more. We have received numerous industry accolades, including a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo as well as Board Certification in Immigration and Nationality Law from The Florida Bar.Call Guerra Sáenz, PL today at (888) 936-3228 and let us assist you, starting with an initial consultation.