CUBA (Conspiracy Talk News) – Almost a year after the end of the policy named “dry feet, wet feet”, Cubans have joined the immigrants from other countries who try to reach the United States in an irregular manner and risk being arrested or deported.
The change of policy has also caused a turning point not only for South Florida but also for Cubans on the island, whose dream for a long time was to cross over to the other side of the Strait.
“The suspension of the policy of ‘dry feet, wet feet’ … put an end to the longest and most massive cycle of the Cuban exodus since 1959,” said Jorge Duany, director with Cuban Research Institute at the International University of Florida.
The year 2017 – which began in October 2016 and ended in September 2017 – 15,410 Cubans arrived on the border of Mexico. This figure means only 35 percent of those who arrived in fiscal year 2016 was 41,523, according to figures from the Customs and Border Protection Offices (CBP).
Of those, were more than 15,000 Cubans, most managed to enter the country before January 12th, when President Barack Obama decided to eliminate the policy of “dry feet, wet feet” that allowed Cubans to reach US territory (dry feet ) meant, stay legally even if they did not have visas.
As a result of the policy change, between February and September of this year, only 1,631 Cubans arrived on the border of Mexico. The total number of Cubans who arrived without visas throughout the country is not yet available, but it is likely to exceed 2,000.
At least 426 other Cubans classified as “inadmissible” had arrived in the United States between January 12th and January 31st, according to CBP.
According to Department of State, the new policy has reduced the total flow of irregular immigration from Cuba by 64 % with respect to the fiscal year of 2016. The number of so-called rafters intercepted at sea has decreased even further, 71 % figures show .
Duany estimates that between 1995 and 2015, the United States admitted over 650,000 Cuban immigrants who could then benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act and obtain permanent residence after one year and one day in America.
This change in immigration policy has been one of the few meeting points of the administration of President Donald Trump and the Cuban government.
In a statement on migratory dialogue between the two countries within Washington Monday, the Cuban Foreign Ministry stressed that “both delegations agreed to recognize the positive impact eliminating the policy ‘dry feet, wet feet’ … regarding emigration of Cubans to the United States. “
However, other issues are much more thorny, especially the one related to deportations.
The US delegation assured that it had fulfilled it’s commitment to grant 20,000 Cubans visas from the island this year, but at the same time requested more cooperation from the Cuban governments side to accept the Cubans that Washington wants to deport back to the island.
Due to the changes implemented by the Obama administration and maintained by Trump’s White House, in the fiscal year of 2017 the United States deported some 160 Cubans, more than double those deported in the previous year of (64) but less than 10% of those who arrived in the country after the policy change.
This rate seems small compared to deportation of immigrants from other countries. The United States deported 33,000 of 38,000 Guatemalans who tried to enter without documents in the fiscal year of 2017, for example.
The end of exile?
But the relative increase in the deportation of Cubans is another sign of how much immigration patterns have changed in South Florida.
“The official narrative in the United States has equated Cubans with other groups of undocumented immigrants, such as Mexicans or Caribbeans, who leave their countries seeking better living and working conditions,” said Duany, adding that that narrative rarely distinguishes “The political reasons that Cubans may have to leave their island, such as fear of persecution and repression for their ideas contrary to the Cuban regime.”
“The current dominant discourse on the Cuban exodus seems to announce the end of exile as it was applied for almost six decades to people who emigrated from the island,” he said.
Many of the Cubans who arrived in the United States of America this year, applied for asylum and have been detained in immigration centers until their cases are resolved.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it could not immediately offer the updated figures, but until July of this year, 1,355 Cubans were in detention.
As of the end of August, this year, 134 asylum applications made by Cubans were still pending.