USCCB Migration Chairman Expresses Disappointment over Abrupt End of “Wet Foot / Dry Foot” Policy, Which Has Long Benefitted Cuban Migrants and Refugees
WASHINGTON—On January 12, 2017, the Obama Administration announced the end of the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy towards Cuban arrivals, which allows Cubans who arrive onto American soil to stay in the U.S. and apply to become legal residents while returning those Cubans intercepted at sea back to Cuba.
Bishop Vasquez noted in regards to the Administration's actions, "While we have welcomed normalizing relations with Cuba, the violation of basic human rights remains a reality for some Cubans and the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy helped to afford them a way to seek refuge in the United States."
Noting the remarkable contributions of Cuban Americans to our society, Bishop Vasquez stated: "Cuban Americans have been one of the most successful immigrant groups in U.S. history. The protections afforded them were a model of humane treatment." The end of the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy, Bishop remarked, "will make it more difficult for vulnerable populations in Cuba, such as asylum seekers, children, and trafficking victims, to seek protection."
Going forward, Bishop Vasquez, stated: "My brother Bishops and I pledge to work with the outgoing and incoming administrations to ensure humane treatment for vulnerable populations, from Cuba and elsewhere, seeking refuge in the United States."
---Keywords: Obama Administration, Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Committee on Migration, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cuba, human rights, humane treatment, legal residency, asylum seekers, children, trafficking, vulnerable populations.
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