On January 12th, the White House announced that the Department of Homeland Security is ending the Cuban “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy as part of its steps towards normalizing relations with Cuba. In its press release, the White House states:
The Department of Homeland Security is ending the so-called “wet-foot/dry foot” policy, which was put in place more than twenty years ago and was designed for a different era. Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal, consistent with U.S. law and enforcement priorities. By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries. The Cuban government has agreed to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed, just as it has been accepting the return of migrants interdicted at sea.
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security is also ending the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program. From now on, Cuban medical professionals will be treated the same way as medical professionals from other countries and will be eligible to apply for asylum at the US embassy and consulates.