For decades, dramatic images of Cubans trying to reach the United States on decrepit boats made of all kinds of materials shocked many within the South Florida community. On the island, families waited desperately for news on whether loved ones had made it to shore.
In April, the Coast Guard did not intercept a single vessel ferrying Cuban migrants — the first time in seven years this has occurred.
“April was the first month in seven years where we didn’t have one Cuban migrant, not one,” Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard told The Wall Street Journal. “On a typical day at this time last year, we would probably pick up anywhere from 50 to 150 Cuban migrants.”
The remarkable change is due to a drastic measure taken during the last days of the Obama administration in negotiation with the Cuban government: the elimination of an immigration policy for Cubans known as “wet foot, dry foot.”
Photo credit: Lynne Sladky, Associated Press