Coast Guard-No More Cuban Rafters


For the first time in seven years, the Coast Guard did not intercept a vessel carrying Cuban migrants to the United States.

“April was the first month in seven years where we didn’t have one Cuban migrant, not one,” Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard told The Wall Street Journal.

The change is due to an Obama era measure negotiated with Cuba: the eradication of a migrant policy for Cubans known as “wet foot, dry foot.”

Cubans, for two decades, had an immigration advantage over other migrants.  Due to a Clinton-era open door policy, they could come to the United States without a visa, be given asylum, and be on track for permanent residency.  After the enactment of this ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy, thousands of islanders fled by sea, trying to make it to America.

Then President Obama and Cuban leader Castro announced the restoration of diplomatic relations in 2014. As the administration began to normalize relations with Cuba more and more, Cubans began to migrant, as they feared the immigration policy would end.  In 2016 5,396 Cubans arrived in the U.S. intercepted by the Coast Guard, and 56,000 Cubans arrived –mainly across the border with Mexico.  On January 12, Obama announced the end of that policy.

Now even if migrants land on a remote U.S. island, attempt to come in on the Mexico border, they are going back.


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