Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Judge rules on Cubans who landed on "wrong" bridge

The story of the 15 Cuban refugees who were deported back in January after they landed on the Old Flagler Bridge in the Florida Keys only to find out that the DHS on longer considered the bridge "dry land" under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, took another turn today when a federal judge ruled that US government had acted unreasonably.

U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno ordered the federal officials to "use their best efforts" to help the Cubans return to the United States.

The judge went on to explain that his ruling was not one on the legality of the policy, but rather specific to this case. "In this holding, the Court is not ruling on the wisdom, or lack of wisdom, of the 'wet foot/dry foot' policy," Moreno wrote in a 12-page ruling.

In this case none of the parties concerned claimed the refugees were stopped at sea, the debate revolved around the status of the dilapidated Flagler Bridge, which according to the government was no longer connected to land due to missing spans.

Although Cuban exile leaders claimed the decision as a victory, it's unclear if the Castro government in Havana has any intention of returning the refugees.


More on the bridge refugees from Migra Matters:
Wet Foot policy may cost Republicans Florida
Conch Republic seizes Florida bridge
Wet Foot, Dry Foot


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