Obama ends visa-free residency for Cubans

The longstanding policy allowed any Cubans who reach US soil to become permanent residents of the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The Cuban government has agreed to take back Cubans who had arrived in the US after months of negotiations with Washington.

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has ended a 20-year policy that grants residency to Cubans who arrive in the United States without visas.

The policy called “wet feet, dry feet” had been allowing Cuban migrants who reach US soil to become legal permanent residents after a year.

The Cuban government has welcomed the move and agreed to accept Cuban nationals who are turned away or deported from the US.

Cuba and the US spent several months negotiating the change.

"With this change we will continue to welcome Cubans as we welcome immigrants from other nations, consistent with our laws," Obama said in a statement.

TRT World'Anelise Borges has more details from Havana.

TRTWorld and agencies