The end of ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Nishitha Kasara, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur.


 

The “wet foot, dry foot” policy which was put by Bill Clinton in 1995 allows Cubans to reside in US and later acquire permanent resident status if they manage to reach US without getting caught in waters. Both the governments were not really happy with this very generous policy. On Jan 17, 2017 The US government ended the policy citing the reason of normalising the relationships with Cuba.

Though America’s open door to Cuba may appear very biased and unfair to other immigrants,  one can not ignore the Cuban government’s breathtaking inhumanity and brutality. This policy righted some wrong and diminished suffering. The present move killed the hopes of Cubans reaching the freedom that is just 90 miles away. Now they must make an asylum claim instead of merely being Cuban – a status we all know means they have a well-founded fear of persecution. Worse, some may be deterred from seeking their freedom by the imposing bureaucratic barriers of the asylum system.

Diverting Cubans into the backlogged asylum system and letting the Cuban Adjustment Act grant them green cards in due course is not the end of the world for Cubans. But ending “wet foot, dry foot” makes the process less predictable, more intimidating and can result in some Cuban asylum-seekers waiting in detention facilities or treated as criminals for fleeing Communism. Though we do not know how it will benefit the US, It surely tampered the liberty of Cubans.

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