Hundreds of Cubans stranded in Mexico after U.S. ends immigration policy
The end of the "wet foot, dry foot" policy for Cuban refugees has left
potentially hundreds of people stranded along the south side of the
They were on their way to the U.S. where they would have eventually been
granted citizenship. Now, they could soon be falling into a dangerous
fate, right into the hands of smugglers.
A humanitarian effort is currently underway in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico,
just south of the Laredo port of entry, where dozens of Cubans are
stranded after being denied entry to the U.S.
For more than 20 years the "wet foot, dry foot" policy allowed exiled
Cubans who reach U.S. soil without a visa to become permanent residents.
President Obama announced an end to the longstanding policy last week.
The Department of Homeland Security said that this is part of the
normalization of relations between the two countries.
"It's a big concern for people like me," said Dr. Arturo Lopez-Levy, a
political science professor at UT-RGV who migrated from Cuba 15 years
ago and is now worried about what comes next. "What we're going to see
is that the contingent of Cuban immigrants that used to come, in some
sense, legally or openly through the port of entry, now are going to try
to enter the U.S. in an undocumented way."
That is why Cubans in Nuevo Laredo are beginning to rally, pleading for
anyone to help them get in.
The number of Cuban migrants has risen since relations were
re-established. More than 56,000 Cubans entered the U.S. last year alone.
Among them was Luis Lopez Quesada, who we interviewed last month as he
was also stranded on an international bridge for days before being admitted.
Lopez Quesada said that he understands the frustration many are feeling.
After all, it took him weeks and he spent more than $6,000 to get to the
border. He believes that people will continue to leave Cuba to get to
the U.S. despite this change as long as communism continues to strangle
Now, they run the same risks as other migrant groups trying to enter
"And most likely, some of them will fall in the area of undocumented
immigrants and some of them probably will fall prey to the criminal
groups," Dr. Lopez-Levy said.
Many, if not all of the Cubans currently in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico will be
waiting there hoping that Donald Trump will reverse course as soon as he
takes office on Friday.
(© 2017 KENS)
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