On Thursday, President Obama announced that he was scrapping the long-standing policy by which Cuban migrants arriving at U.S. borders were granted automatic access to the country, and eventual permanent-resident status. The measure, which had immediate effect, was in keeping with a dramatic series of executive actions that Obama has taken to solidify as many of his policies as possible, or to at least hinder their reversal by Donald Trump. The end of open-door entry to the United States for Cubans, called “wet foot, dry foot,” is intended both as a buttress to Obama’s historic rapprochement with Cuba—which Trump has recently threatened to tear up—and as a brake on the surge of Cubans flooding into the United States since a restoration of diplomatic relations was announced, in December, 2014.
Last year, around fifty thousand Cubans entered the United States, a significant increase over the 2015 numbers, which, in turn, rose by eighty per cent over the year before. The numbers were driven up by anticipation of a change in the law. Bill Clinton had pushed “wet foot, dry foot” through after...Read more