US President Barack Obama has ended a longstanding immigration policy that extends automatic residency to Cubans arriving in the country without visas.
The “wet foot, dry foot” policy was “designed for a different era,” Obama announced in a statement on Thursday.
The 20-year-old policy allowed any Cuban migrant who makes it to the US to become legal permanent resident after a year.
“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 US law and enforcement priorities,” Obama said in his statement.
“By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries,” the president added.
The policy shift came with only days left in Obama’s presidency and after he had worked for years to normalize relations with Cuba.
However, the improved ties also prompted a surge of immigration…