Monika Gonzalez Mesa | Daily Business Review | January 13, 2017
“The “Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot” policy put into place in 1995 by former President Bill Clinton during a heavy wave of Cuban rafters fleeing the island gave Cuban refugees an automatic path to asylum if they reached U.S. shores. Thursday, it was another Democratic president who brought an end to that policy, meaning that Cubans who arrive without visas will be considered illegal immigrants just like those who arrive from other countries. Undocumented Cubans will be detained at Krome Detention Center or similar sites.”
“The “dry-foot” policy gave Cubans an automatic assumption of persecution and the presumption that they would be granted asylum. Without it, detainees face deportation and their chances of succeeding in staying will be far less, Abraham said. In some cases, they could be returned to Cuba within a week.”
“It’s going to create a whole new class of clients because Cubans have in the past have had such an easy go of it,” said Gordon Quan, founding partner at Quan Law Group in Houston, who has been practicing immigration for 40 years. “Now they are going to have to go through the same scrutiny as everybody else.”
“Quan’s firm has 10 attorneys, and only about 3 percent of the firm’s work currently involves Cuban immigrants, but he thinks that’s largely because it has been such a simple process that many go to charities for help or storefront law firms that don’t charge as much. Now, instead of telling a Cuban client to come back in a year to file papers, he will spend time analyzing the individual’s educational background, checking whether they have relatives who are potential sponsors, or if they have a valid claim for asylum. He believes having to prove the need for asylum will create more work for his firm.”
“We have to show that they have a real fear of returning, and that was not required in the past,” Quan said. “More times than not, they are denied at that point.”
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