Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security
[U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal] Press Office U.S. Department of Homeland Security
January 12, 2017
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY JOHNSON ON THE CONTINUED NORMALIZATION OF OUR MIGRATION RELATIONSHIP WITH CUBA
The United States is revoking the so-called “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy for Cuban migrants that has been in place since the mid-1990s. Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to illegally enter the United States will be subject to removal, consistent with our enforcement priorities. The United States is also ending the special Cuban Medical Professional Parole program.
These actions are part of the ongoing normalization of relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba, and reflect a commitment to have a broader immigration policy in which we treat people from different countries consistently. To the extent permitted by the current laws of our two countries, the United States will now treat Cuban migrants in a manner consistent with how it treats others; unauthorized migrants can expect to be removed unless they qualify for humanitarian relief under our laws.
The Government of Cuba has agreed to begin to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed. Cuba and the United States will work to further discourage unlawful migration to the United States and promote bilateral cooperation to prevent and prosecute alien smuggling and other crimes related to illegal migration.
Though the Cuban Adjustment Act and certain Cuban laws remain in effect, today’s announcement goes a long way to putting our relationship with Cuba on equal terms with our relationships with other neighbors.
# # #