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FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2015 file photo, a Cuban and American flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. President Barack Obama will announce July 1 that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, a senior administration official said.  (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

President Obama has scrapped 'wet foot, dry foot' Cuban policy


With one week left in office, President Obama announced on Thursday an end to the two-decade-old "wet foot, dry foot" policy that allowed Cubans to become legal permanent residents one year after they reached U.S. soil.

"By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries," Obama wrote in a statement Thursday.

"Since I took office, we have put the Cuban-American community at the center of our policies," Obama added. "With this change, we will continue to welcome Cubans as we welcome immigrants from other nations, consistent with our laws."

The shift in foreign policy comes about two years after President Obama announced his intentions to normalize relations with Cuba. 

The president's critics, particularly Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., have blasted him for dethawing frozen relations with the Caribbean Island, citing the county's records with human rights abuses 

But that hasn't stopped Obama in his tracks, though, it remains uncertain how the policy will change under the Trump administration. 

The former business mogul-turned-politician has spoken of his intentions to cancel the Cuba deal.

Not everyone is thrilled with the announcement, however.

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