Monday, June 1, 2009

Cuba agrees to talks with U.S. about immigration policy

Photo of memorial to Cuban refugees who died attempting to get to the United States used under Creative Commons from Bmigulski.

The Washington Post cites an anonymous U.S. State Department official as stating that the Cuban government has "formally accepted the U.S. offer to restart talks on legal immigration that were halted in 2003 by the Bush administration." The article goes on to state:

The talks are not expected to change significantly the number of Cubans who legally immigrate each year to the United States -- about 20,000, the official said. But they will be the highest-level contacts between the two governments, and they could lead to dialogue on other topics. The Obama administration is interested in the discussions in part because of the growing problem of Cubans trying to enter illegally, the official said.

Currently the U.S. policy toward undocumented Cubans who enter without inspection (EWI) by boat is known as "wet foot/dry foot." This allows the Coast Guard to intercept Cubans in U.S. territorial waters and return them to Cuba. If the undocumented Cubans set foot on any part of U.S. dry land, however, they will be considered asylees and most likely be allowed to stay in the United States.

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