The Obama administration, in one of its final foreign policy initiatives, on Thursday ended the special status accorded migrants fleeing Cuba who, upon reaching this country, were automatically allowed to stay.
Cubans are still covered by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which grants them permanent residency — a green card — after they have been here for one year. Until now, they were given temporary “parole” status while waiting for that year to pass. That will no longer be granted, making the act moot for most by denying them entry on arrival.
Effective immediately, President Obama said in a statement, “Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally . . . will be subject to removal,” treating them “the same way we treat migrants from other countries.”
More than a million Cubans have come to this country, many of them in vast exoduses by sea, since the island’s 1959 revolution. More than 250,000 have been granted residency under the Obama administration under the law, which can only be repealed by Congress.
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