WASHINGTON — U.S. border patrol no longer allows in Cuban immigrants as a result of a last-minute policy change of Barack Obama, and two of the Senate’s biggest advocates for the Cuban exile community seem doubtful it will change anytime soon.
One week before Trump’s inauguration, Obama, through an executive action, altered U.S. policy to eliminate “wet foot dry foot” for incoming Cuban exiles, which enabled most Cuban migrants who manage to make it to U.S. land to remain and go through the process of becoming legal permanent residents.
“I don’t think that’s going to change. That program had run its course. As I just pointed out earlier there are people that are legitimately seeking to flee persecution and there’s a process for that in place not to mention the visas we do every year, but that’s not going to happen,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told The Daily Caller Wednesday.
Cuban migrants were given refuge in Mexico since President Obama changed the policy and those that tried to cross the international border between the U.S. and Mexico were turned away in early April, The San Antonio Express News reported.
According to The SA Express News, one Cuban migrant asked a border patrol officer, “What if I want to turn myself in and ask for asylum?”
“The law has changed, you have to go back,” the officer responded prior to escorting him to the Mexican side of the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge.
Despite the 54 percent support he received from Florida’s Cuban exile community, Trump indicated he does not have interest in reversing the policy.
“I don’t think that’s fair. I mean, why would that be a fair thing?” Trump told The Tampa Bay Times last February. “I don’t think it would be fair. You know, we have a system now for bringing people into the country, and what we should be doing is we should be bringing people who are terrific people who have terrific records of achievement, accomplishment. … You have people that have been in the system for years [waiting to immigrate to America], and it’s very unfair when people who just walk across the border, and you have other people that do it legally.”
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez told The Daily Caller Tuesday that the president campaigned in Miami and promised the Cuban community for a better situation than what Obama left them.
“I would expect the president will do what he said when he was campaigning in Florida — that they were going to end up with a better deal. Certainly, there’s been persecution — more arrests since the policy,” Menendez said.
Three weeks after Trump won the White House, he pledged to terminate the diplomatic relations deal President Obama struck with Cuba’s communist regime if the Cuban people did not get a “better deal” from their government.
If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” Trump posted on Twitter, his preferred medium of communication in the weeks following his election.