On January 12, 2017— a week before President-elect Donald Trump and his administration take office— the Obama Administration announced the end of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy. The termination of the policy is effective immediately.
The “wet foot, dry foot” policy, part of the 1995 revision of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1965, enabled Cubans to enter the United States and receive residency within a year without a visa.
According to Univision Miami, 54,000 Cubans reaped the benefits of the policy in 2016.
However, the policy only benefited Cubans, many of which received benefits without working and later returned to Cuba to share their newfound luxuries. With thousands taking advantage of the exclusive benefits, controversy sparked among those who viewed the policy as unfair to the those living in war torn and poor countries who traveled to the United States and received no immediate benefits.
With the announcement of the repeal, some worry about their futures as others rejoice at the termination of the policy. Now questions remain about what will happen to Cubans currently on their way to the United States, what will happen to Cubans in the process of obtaining residency via the policy, and what will happen to Cubans who have already obtained their residency.
Though the “wet foot, dry foot” policy has been repealed, the Cuban Adjustment Act still stands. The act allows Cubans to seek political asylum, if necessary, after an evaluation of circumstances. It will be more difficult for Cubans to find a foothold in the United States, but it leans away from the perceived favoritism and helps prevent the federal fraud many Cubans committed under the policy.
Many are speculating what the repeal will bring seeing as it goes against the opposition Republicans faced for wanting to create a stricter immigration system— the Muslim ban, the wall, deportation, and so on.