The U.S. made the wet foot, dry foot law as the guideline to follow concerning Cubans trying to reach America. This is strictly adhered to by the U.S. Coast Guard. If a Cuban is in knee high water, standing up on his own, but caught by the Coast Guard before he reaches dry land, the Cuban is sent back. This leads to the conclusion that even if a Cuban is in U.S. waters, they are turned back. The fifteen Cubans in this story were found in U.S. waters, but that does not matter. Under the law, they must be able to reach dry land. If the U.S. makes exceptions for these fifteen people, the floodgates would open. Cubans would only try to make it to the bridges, not to actual U.S. land.
Even if the bridge had been connected to land, the Cubans must be returned. The reasoning behind this theory is simple. A Cuban can reach U.S. land on a boat, if the Coast Guard does not detain them. If we allowed these fifteen Cubans to stay, a precedent would be set. Cubans in U.S. water would have to be allowed to stay.
If these fifteen people were allowed to stay because the piling was under U.S. control, other Cubans could argue successfully, that anyone in U.S. waters would be under U.S. control. That would mean boats, pilings, or even debris in U.S. water would be under U.S. control. This would lead to the belief that if a person lands on any one of these things, they should be able to stay.