Obama revokes US policy encouraging illegal migration of Cubans
In what has been considered Obama´s last move towards the improvement of US-Cuba relations before leaving the White House, he revoked the dry-feet, wet-feet policy, which encouraged Cuban illegal migration to the US, and the medical parole program, aimed at having Cuban doctors abandon their medical missions in other countries to leave for the United States.
A news release by the White House on Thursday afternoon quotes Obama´s statements as saying that “Today, the United States is taking important steps forward to normalize relations with Cuba and to bring greater consistency to our immigration policy. The Department of Homeland Security is ending the so-called "wet-foot/dry foot" policy…and that the Department of Homeland Security is also ending the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.”
In the face of this statement, the Cuban government issued a declaration saying that with this accord Cuba and the United States sign and accord aimed at guaranteeing regular, safe and orderly migration.
The Cuban government also described the step as important for the advance of bilateral relations and noted that the accord is included in Cuba´s decision, ratified by President Raul Castro on December 17, 2014 that a dialog with the U.S. must be based on mutual respect, on equal grounds to deal with all diverse issues in a reciprocal manner, without undermining Cuban independence and sovereignty.
The Cuban government made clear that along with the two measures, in order to achieve normal migration relations between the two countries, the US Congress must put down the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, one of its kind in the world and outdated in today´s bilateral context.
Aside from what today´s joint declaration stipulates, other migration accords reached by both countries keep in force, while both countries ratify their decision to prevent illegal maritime departures from Cuba to the US and to return to the island all those persons who are intercepted in such attempts or those who try to reach the US naval base in Guantanamo. The US government will continue to guarantee regular migration from Cuba on the basis of a minimum of 20 thousand people every year.
The Cuban government, faithful to its obligations, ratifies its commitment to guarantee regular, safe and orderly migration, and fully meet the new accords. It will continue to guarantee the right of Cubans to travel and migrate and to return to their country, according to the current migration law and will adopt other measures to update its migration policy. (acn)