The following release was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Bahamas:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12th January 2017
FROM THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS & IMMIGRATION
ON US WET FOOT / DRY FOOT POLICY COMING TO AN END
The United States government through its Charge in The Bahamas Lisa Johnson communicated to the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell this afternoon that with immediate effect, the so called “wet foot / dry foot” immigration policy of the United States with regard to Cuban nationals landing in the United States will come to an end.
The United States told the Foreign Minister that the decision comes following the renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries the United States and Cuba.
The effect of the policy is that Cuban nationals will now be treated like any other foreign nationals landing in the United States illegally. They will be returned following the appropriate screening to determine whether they qualify for refugee status.
The Bahamas Government welcomes this decision, particularly as it is believed that this policy was believed to be driving the rise in Cuban landings in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas repatriated 187 Cuban nationals in 2014. With the US rapprochement of Cuba at the end of 2014, The Bahamas repatriated 196 Cubans in 2015; and numbers continually spiked from June 2016 ending the year with 1,179 repatriations. Up to 12th January 2017, 114 Cubans have been repatriated.
The Government is mindful however that the decision is taken just as the Political Administration in the United States is about to change. The Government waits to see whether the policy will continue beyond the current administration before the Government can determine what the policy’s full effects are.