Families of deported Cubans challenge US landing rule

[JURIST] The families of fifteen Cubans deported when they failed to reach US soil have filed suit in US District Court, claiming that the US government's so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy is inconsistent with US and international law. The fifteen Cubans fled their homeland in a small homemade boat, but only managed to reach an abandoned bridge piling in the Florida Keys. Because the bridge was no longer attached to US soil, the Cubans were sent back to Cuba on Monday [AP report] aboard a Coast Guard cutter. Under the current "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, Cubans who reach US soil are allowed to remain in the United States, while those stopped at sea are sent back to Cuba by the US Coast Guard [official website]. Critics of the policy point out that the federal government's jurisdiction extends beyond dry land to waters as far out as 100 miles. On Monday, Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) called [press release] the "wet foot, dry foot" rule "complete and utter failure":

Because they reached an old bridge and not a new bridge there's a judgment they didn't reach American soil? The semantics used to return these men and women -- who have risked so much to reach freedom and are now returned to an uncertain future -- are an embarrassment.
AP has more.

 

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