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How do changes in Cuban immigration policies affect you?

Since the 1990s, Cubans escaping the communist rule of their government have found asylum in the United States. Unlike those of other countries, Cubans received special treatment through the policies of the past few presidential administrations. You may have been one who benefited from those policies.

The "wet foot, dry foot" policy, established by President Bill Clinton, allowed you to remain in the United States if you were able to reach land safely, even if you did not have a visa or other legal documentation. However, if U.S. authorities intercepted you while you were still at sea, they would return you to Cuba.

Changes in United States policies

Despite the criticism that other nations expressed at the special treatment the U.S. offered to Cuba, the wet foot, dry foot program actually limited the open-door policy the country previously extended to Cubans. This is because of the massive numbers of Cubans who attempted to escape in the 1990s and sought refuge in this country.

In an effort to achieve uniform treatment for migrants from all countries, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently made drastic changes to its Cuban immigration policies, and you may be wondering how this affects you or your loved ones in Cuba. The changes include the following:

  • Cubans who enter the U.S. without a visa risk immediate arrest and deportation.
  • Cubans who try to enter the U.S. illegally will no longer receive humanitarian relief.
  • Cuban nationals will not automatically be eligible for resident status after one year.

Perhaps you agree with those who believe this may be the first step in bringing about transformation in Cuba. Since people will no longer be able to escape to the United States, they may be compelled to make a profound change in their own homeland.

What can you do now?

Although new arrivals to Florida may no longer be permitted to stay with the end of the wet foot, dry foot policy, the Cuban Reunification Parole Program is still in effect. Through this program, you may apply for parole for certain of your family members who wish to leave Cuba. This way, if approved, they will be allowed to come to the U.S. on a conditional basis.

If you are considering this move for a loved one, or if you have other concerns about your status in the United States as a result of the reformation of immigration policies, speaking to an immigration attorney may benefit you. An attorney who is passionate about assisting those seeking asylum will be able to provide the answers and guidance you need.

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