Cuba welcomed the end of a U.S. preferential immigration policy concerning Cuban nationals and asked the upcoming Trump administration not to reverse it. U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday announced the end of the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that granted permanent residence to Cubans a year after entering U.S. territory even by illegal means. The Cuban authorities had considered the policy, adopted in 1995, as encouragement to illegal migration and human trafficking, and had been trying to persuade Washington into scrapping it. This policy change marks an important step in the advance of Cuba-U.S. relations, Josefina Vidal, director for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on Thursday. It also helps to overcome serious problems for the security of the two countries and for the safety of Cubans who had been encouraged by the preferential policy and had been exposed to human trafficking, immigration fraud and other scams. Havana hopes that the administration of Donald Trump will continue the process of normalization of relations with Cuba and will not reverse this measure, said Vidal.