Time: 11:30 p.m. CEST Update: January 13, 7:30 p.m. CEST
The White House confirmed the policy change toward the migrants coming from Cuba to the U.S., which had privileged status in the past decades. Josh Earnest, press secretary confirmed on January 13 the change in the policy. “This is policy change that we have announced insures that we are harmonizing our immigration policy with regard to Cuban migrants,” Earnest said.
As Earnest tried to explain the change of the policy, “Migrants from Cuba will be treated in the same as the migrants of the other countries are, which is to say legitimate claims for refugee status or asylum, will be subject to due process, which means their claims would be evaluated.”
The United States plans to end its policy of allowing Cubans residency without visas. As the USA Today reports, the Obama administration is ending the 20-year-old ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy that allows most Cuban migrants who reach U.S. soil to become legal permanent residents after one year.”
As usatoday.com reports, the decision was confirmed Thursday by a congressional staffer who was briefed by the administration but was not authorized to publicly discuss the plan. The administration could make formal announcement late Thursday. The end of this policy would mean that Cubans would not have the preferential treatment, which they have for more than 20 years.
As USAToday explains, “The decision comes as President Obama tries to cement his historic opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba and one week before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.” Obama restored U.S.- Cuba relations in 2014 after five decades of isolation of Cuba and visited the island in 2016.