Shortly before his term, former President Obama overturned the “wet foot, dry foot,” policy that allowed Cuban migrants who made it to shore (“dry foot”) to become legal residents after one year and those caught in the sea (“wet foot”) to be sent back to Cuba. This change in policy made it so that Cuban migrants were treated the same as migrants from other countries and would hopefully put an end to the dangerous sea journey that many Cubans made to reach the U.S.
The Trump administration has not reinstated the policy, but soon after taking office, several executive orders have been signed by Trump for local and state police to detain or apprehend people in the United States illegally.
According to the Miami Herald, there are 37,218 Cubans who face deportation orders and “As of December 9, 2017, there were 1,686 Cuban nationals in ICE detention,” said Brendan Raedy, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to the State Department, the new policy has reduced by 64 percent the irregular immigration of Cubans arriving in the U.S.
It has also drastically reduced the number of those attempting to arrive by sea. In 2017 the Coast Guard intercepted 1,468 Cubans at sea, compared to 5,396 in 2016.
Without any immigration policy changes, the reality for many Cubans in the U.S. after the January 12th change in immigration policy is now deportation or detention. Many are stuck in limbo as the U.S. deports more and more Cubans.