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Martinez wants new policy on Cubans

By Associated Press
Published November 16, 2004

MIAMI - U.S. Sen.-elect Mel Martinez says he wants to change federal policy on Cubans trying to reach the United States illegally but isn't sure what to replace it with.

Martinez spoke about the so-called wet foot-dry foot policy, which has been a cornerstone of U.S.-Cuba migration relations since the Clinton administration. Under the policy, most Cuban migrants who make it to U.S. soil can stay, but most picked up at sea are taken back to the island.

Martinez said many fleeing Cubans don't qualify for political refugee status and don't reasonably fear political persecution.

But Cubans found at sea "should be at the very minimum allowed to come to the U.S., where they can remain in land and where they can make a case," said Martinez, who will be the first Cuban-born senator.

Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuban migrants who arrive in the United States can apply for residency after a year and a day.

[Last modified November 16, 2004, 00:39:15]


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