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Havana Hails End to Special US Immigration Policy for Cubans

By Andrea Rodriguez, Alicia Caldwell and Julia Pace, Associated Press:

The Cuban government hailed President Barack Obama’s decision ending automatic legal residency for any Cuban who touches U.S. soil, while ordinary citizens mourned the end of an easy pathway to a new life in the United States.

Average Cubans and opponents of the island’s communist leaders said they expected pressure for reform to increase with the elimination of a mechanism that siphoned off the island’s most dissatisfied citizens and turned them into sources of remittances supporting relatives who remained on the island.

The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy went into effect immediately after a Thursday afternoon announcement. It followed months of negotiations focused in part on getting Cuba to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.

Cubans fearful of an imminent end to a special immigration status bestowed during the Cold War had been flocking to the United States since the Dec. 17, 2014 announcement that the U.S. and Cuba would re-establish diplomatic relations and move toward normalization…

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