NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – The more than 50 Cuban migrants stranded in Nuevo Laredo, on the US-Mexico border, hope that President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, will resolve the conflict sparked by the cancellation late last week of the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” policy.
One of those affected by the unexpected decision by outgoing President Barack Obama, who on Thursday eliminated that long-standing immigration policy, is Roimer Delgado, 47, who says that he and his fellow migrants are hoping for a solution.
“We’re waiting to see what Trump decides to do with us. The only thing we want is for him to let us enter and build a new life, on the basis of effort and work, far from the Castro regime,” Delgado told EFE, just yards from US soil, at the bridge linking Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, with Laredo, Texas.
About 30 of the stranded Cubans, including several mothers with small children, decided to protest peacefully at the bridge by forming a silent line at the entry point to the United States.
Those participating in the protest, who came to the border between Thursday and Saturday, are asking the incoming Trump administration to let them enter the US because Obama’s decision was “immediate and unexpected.”
Obama put an end to the policy, which allowed undocumented Cuban migrants who managed to make it to US territory to remain in the United States, the move being one more step in the normalization process with Havana begun in late 2014.
On the day Fidel Castro died in late November, Trump had promised that his new administration would do everything possible so that the Cuban people could start on the road toward “prosperity and freedom.”
Also, during his election campaign, Trump had promised to take a hard line with the Castro regime, an announcement that secured him the votes of many Cuban-Americans in Florida, a crucial state in his Nov. 8 presidential election win.
“We hope that the new government reflects a little and lets us in, whether it be through political asylum or by reintroducing the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ rule. I’m happy with whatever they give me,” said Irina Vicardo, who arrived at the US border with her 1- and 8-year-old children after traveling through Ecuador (where she was living), Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, one of the regular routes for Cuban migrants making their way to the United States.
Many Cubans travel as “tourists” to Ecuador by plane and from there continue their journey by various means to the southern US border.