In his final days in The White House, President Obama has been making some last minute changes before the Trump administration moves in, including blacklisting Russians with ties to Putin’s regime and permanently banning drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic. However, his latest move leaves many scratching their heads, as The New York Times reports that the White House will be ending the exemption that benefited many Cuban immigrants, allowing them to stay in the country without visas while they were working towards legal residency.
The “wet foot, dry foot” exemption allowed any Cubans who made it to American soil to remain in the country while they worked towards legal citizenship despite not having a visa, but anyone caught at sea was returned to Cuba. This protection was unique to Cuban refugees, and has long been protested by the Cuban government.
Obama has been working to normalize the United State’s changing relationship with Cuba in recent years, so this move is likely a strategic one to leave relations stronger when he leaves the White House. However, nearly 250,000 Cubans have gained residency in the US during Obama’s administration, so this change in policy is sure to affect many who are looking for a new life. As the diplomatic relationship is sure to change when Trump takes office, removing this exemption could leave the futures of many in a state of flux.
(Via The New York Times)