President Obama’s decision to end the “wet foot, dry foot” policy is not sitting well in Republican circles.
In a news release, Vincent Foster, President of the Log Cabin Republicans of Miami, blasted the outgoing President’s decision to repeal “wet foot, dry foot.”
“Obama is more concerned about his legacy and ‘normalizing’ relations with an oppressive dictatorship than he is with protecting the lives of innocent people fleeing persecution and seeking basic human rights,” said Vincent Foster, LCR Miami President. “I find it repulsive that the outgoing President unilaterally made such a detrimental policy change just a week before he leaves office. While the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ was far from perfect, completely repealing the law is a slap in the face to every hardworking Cuban-American, many of whom still have family in Cuba trying to join them here.”
The policy began in 1995 and allowed for Cubans fleeing the island to stay in the United States once they had touched American soil. If captured at sea, the migrants would be returned to Cuba.
“I guess he’s (Obama) trying to be more equitable to the other Caribbean countries,” said Andy Eddy, a member of the Broward Log Cabin Republicans. "I don't know who he's trying to please. I don't get a sense Cubans went wild for Trump. Maybe Obama was trying to mend fences and maybe it was time for it to come to an end."
Eddy was less hostile to the policy change than Foster, who cast doubt on the sincerity of the new leader in Havana.
“Fidel might be dead, but the oppressive Castro Regime lives on,” Foster said. “We can trust the Cuban government just as much as we can trust the Iranian government. Dictators are not rational actors. They’re sociopaths.”
During Obama’s tenure, the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations, ending an embargo that had been in place since 1961. The death of dictator Fidel Castro in November of last year prompted celebrations throughout Miami and gave exiles hope for reforms on the communist island.
“LCR Miami is hopeful that President-elect Donald J. Trump will overturn Obama’s executive order and make logical change to the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy that provides an opportunity to Cubans seeking freedom from persecution and benefits American foreign policy interests,” Foster said.
Eddy had a different take.
"With Trump and his business skills he can muddle through this mess and figure it out," said Eddy. "There has to be a better way to evaluate people."
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation’s largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies. The organization has chapters in Broward, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa and Orlando.