Tags: Castro-Cuba | Obama | asylum seekers | Coast Guard

New Wave of Cubans Sails for Florida Since Obama's Deal

By    |   Tuesday, 06 January 2015 03:24 PM

The number of Cubans setting sail on rickety boats for political asylum in America has increased more than 100 percent since President Barack Obama normalized relations with the Castro government last month, the U.S. Coast Guard reported this week.

Many of those Cubans also say they fear Obama will stop enforcing a U.S. law adopted nearly 50 years ago that grants Cubans permanent residency in the United States if they flee the communist-ruled island 90 miles off U.S. territory.

The Coast Guard reported that the number of Cubans seeking refuge in the United States increased 117 percent in December.

The Coast Guard also intercepted 121 Cubans in U.S. waters and sent them back to Havana. Under a 1995 amendment to the Cuban Adjustment Act, the Clinton administration agreed to return asylum-seekers to Cuba if they are intercepted at sea.

Under the so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, the Cubans are allowed to stay if they reach U.S. soil.

Noah Rothman at Hot Air wrote Tuesday that many Cubans are desperate to flee the island because they fear the Obama administration will change the current asylum law "on the very specific date of January 15."

"That belief is unfounded, but the (Cubans) may not be entirely wrong," she added, referring to growing demands in the liberal media for a change in the Cuban asylum law.

Boston University professor Susan Eckstein, in an opinion piece for Reuters Tuesday, argued that "Cubans enjoy unique immigration privileges that are no longer justifiable."

"In Washington’s overhauled Cuba immigration policy, Cubans should have the same rights as other foreign-born immigrants — no more, no less," she added.

Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady has been pushing the Obama administration for details on Cuba’s promised to release more that 50 political prisoners as part of the diplomatic normalization deal with the United States.

The State Department on Monday said it had no information on the status of the prisoner release. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman said Cuba has begun freeing some of the inmates.

However, O’Grady also reported that some U.S. intelligence sources are questioning a key element of the deal Obama announced on Dec. 17. Obama agreed to normalize relations and free three Cuban spies in exchange for Cuba’s release of an American aid worker and a Cuban who spied for the United States.

O’Grady reported that a "debate is raging in the intelligence community" as to whether the "intelligence asset," identified in press reports as Rolando Sarraff, was worth the trade.

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The number of Cubans setting sail on rickety boats for political asylum in America has increased more than 100 percent since President Barack Obama normalized relations with the Castro government last month, the U.S. Coast Guard reported this week.
Obama, asylum seekers, Coast Guard
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2015-24-06
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 03:24 PM
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