Tills Visa Law

Stephen K. Tills, Attorney at LAW

Obama Ends the Cuban Parole Policy

For nearly thirty years Cuban nationals have been the beneficiary of an exclusive parole policy, known as the “wet foot / dry foot” rule. That rule provided that if a Cuban reaches the shore of the U.S., and requests to stay, they will be paroled into the U.S..  After one year of physical presence, they can file for permanent resident (green card) status. If however, Cubans do not make it ashore but are encountered at sea, the p0licy was to return them to Cuba.
Without the policy, Cubans will be treated like other Foreigners (arriving aliens) encountered at the border.   Aliens seeking admission to the U.S. border must either have pre-authorized visas, advance parole, or be visa exempt. Absent authorization, such aliens are subject to the “expedited removal” policy, which would result in an Order of Removal and 5 year ban for future admission.

WET FOOT/ DRY FOOT” RULE

Cuban refugees float in seas, south of Key West, Fla. Aug.26,1994. (AP / Dave Martin)

Cuban refugees float in seas, south of Key West, Fla. on Aug. 26, 1994. (AP / Dave Martin)

The only exception to the Expedited Removal Order and 5 year ban is for aliens who are successful in obtaining a favorable “credible fear” determination by an asylum officer.  This is the policy that Cubans will now be subjected to.  It is a curious policy change with one week remaining in the Obama administration.

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