President Obama is scrapping the "wet foot, dry foot" policy for Cuban immigrants, a senior administration official revealed Thursday. The policy, which was introduced in 1995, granted permanent residency to Cubans who arrived in the U.S. without visas. The repeal will take effect immediately.
The policy was originally enacted because the U.S. was hesitant to send Cubans back to a country run by Fidel Castro, The Associated Press reported. It was extended only to Cuban immigrants, and the Cuban government has long argued the policy encouraged its citizens to leave for the U.S.
The changes, which follow several months of negotiation between the U.S. and Cuba, "would be the last step by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba," AP said. Obama's efforts have led to the reestablishment of full diplomatic ties between the countries.
The U.S. and Cuba are expected to issue a joint statement on the agreement late Thursday.