The big immigration news today came from the island nation of Cuba. President Obama announced today that the "wet foot, dry foot" policy no longer applies to Cubans seeking refuge in the United States. In this decades-old understanding, Cubans who arrived in the US were allowed to stay in the country while any Cubans caught at sea attempting to come to the United States were returned. The move is unexpected for a reason: the administration did not want to cause a panic in announcing a gradual change to the policy over time--leading tens of thousands of Cubans to flock to the United States. Instead, this change is effective immediately. Our Verdict: It's interesting that Obama, one of the more pro-immigrant presidents of recent history, decided to end this practice in one of the last moves of his presidency. It makes sense that normalized relations between the two countries now means that Cubans will receive the same treatment and follow the same laws as do immigrants from other nations. It may signal more executive actions directed at immigrants in the closing days of the Obama administration.
Trump reaffirmed building a wall during his press conference yesterday. When asked for specifics, he said Mexico would pay some tax to cover the cost. Mexico has rejected calls to pay for the wall. Some Congressional Republicans are eager to start construction, and are now trying to find funding for it in this year's appropriations. The United States currently has a fence along the border with Mexico. Our Verdict: The wall is here to stay. As noted before in this blog, we believe it'll happen but at a smaller scale than imagined Some of the terrain would present major obstacles to building and maintaining a wall. As for the payment, expect Trump to have a few tricks up his sleeve when NAFTA is renegotiated.