The Obama administration is ending the 20-year-old “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allows most Cuban migrants who reach U.S. soil to become legal permanent residents after one year.
The decision was confirmed by a congressional staffer who was briefed by the administration but was not authorized to publicly discuss the plan.
In exchange, Cuba has agreed to start accepting Cubans who have been issued a deportation order in the U.S., something they have refused to do for decades.
The decision comes as President Obama tries to cement his historic opening with the communist island and one week before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Trump has said he would renegotiate the deal with Cuba.