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Texas roles out the welcome mat for Cubans finishing their 5,000-mile hike through the Americas

(Part V in Fusion’s special series on Cubans’ 5,000-mile trek to freedom. Full series at the bottom)

Crossing the Texas border is usually a moment of grave apprehension for many Latino emigrants who are seeking a better life in the U.S. But for Cubans, it’s a moment of sudden relief—a welcome finish line to their long and dangerous overland trek through Latin America.

The sight of the U.S. border is comforting to Cubans because of the “wet-foot-dry-foot” policy, which essentially allows all Cubans who arrive on U.S. soil to remain in the country and apply for citizenship.

The U.S. has said it has no plans to change wet-foot-dry-foot, but islanders fear improving diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana could soon bring an end to the old cold-war policy. Cuban officials are urging the U.S. to end it, arguing it’s led to the current humanitarian crisis of Cubans stuck on different borders across the region.

But for the time being, the surge of Cubans trekking 5,000 miles to freedom continues.

Fusion’s AMERICA team visits the border in Laredo, Texas—the main point of entry for nearly 20,000 Cubans this year. Fusion’s Dan Lieberman interviewed Cubans after long and dangerous journeys. These are some of their stories.

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