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Cuban Family Separated After US Government Repeals 20-Year-Old Policy

4 years 1 month 1 week ago Friday, January 13 2017 Jan 13, 2017 January 13, 2017 8:52 PM January 13, 2017 in News

HIDALGO – A Cuban native said his family was one of the first divided by President Obama’s repeal of the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy.

Jose Luis Perez Naveira said his wife and child are being detained at the Hidalgo Port of Entry.

Naveira thought the long-awaited reunion with his family would come Friday. He said he drove 22 hours from Miami to McAllen to pick up his wife and 1-year-old daughter.

Naveira’s plan crumbled Thursday afternoon when he received a call.

“When I was one my way, I was told President Obama cancelled the Cuban Adjustment Act. The law had been in place for more than 20 years, and from one day to another it’s gone,” he said.

Naveira said he didn’t anticipate the law change would deny his wife and baby entry into the U.S. He said family and friends were also stunned by the news.

“I was left in a state of shock. I didn’t think it was going into effect after the announcement. I thought it was going to take several days more,” he said.

Naveira said he doesn’t know what his family will do now. He said a life in Cuba isn’t an option.

“Cuba is a country with no democracy, none. I hope you all are mindful of that,” he said.

Naveira said the president and lawmakers should re-consider their decision. He said he won’t leave the Hidalgo port of entry until he’s reunited with his wife and daughter.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the change. The agency responded with the following statement:

“The Department of Homeland Security will no longer give special preference to parole requests made by Cuban national who reach the United States, and they may be subject to expedited removal. Like national from other countries, Cubans in the United States can seek asylum and other available forms of relief or protection from removal.”

DHS said anybody who arrived to the U.S. before the official announcement Thursday will be able to keep their path to legal residency.

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