Cubans face a life-or-death journey as U.S. immigration policy shifts

ABOVE THE FLORIDA STRAITS – The twin-prop Coast Guard plane banked hard left, circling about 1,500 feet above the uninhabited Anguilla Cays, a small group of scrub-covered islands. 

The buzz of the propellers sent at least a dozen people below scattering into the underbrush, leaving a rickety, apparently disabled open boat lying on a beach.

This sliver of an island sits about 45 miles north of Cuba.  The Florida Keys are still farther north. 

Their vessel below looked like so many others that have dared to cross these blue depths, hoping to make it from Cuba or Haiti to U.S. shores. 

The trip is perilous in the best conditions, but on this recent day, gale-warning weather has whipped the sea into a white-capped fury. 

Lt. Spencer Zwenger, a 30-year-old Coast Guard pilot, peered out his window.  The crew’s headsets crackled, “We’ve got a group of people.”

The flight crew’s first

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Canada and the U.S. both face labor shortages. One country is increasing immigration.

In as little as a decade, there will be one retiree for every two workers in Canada. To address the looming labor shortage, Canada’s government announced a new goal in November to accept 1.45 million immigrants by 2025, with 60 percent trained in health care and other urgently needed job skills. 

Meanwhile, in the U.S., similar immigration legislation has stalled as Republicans block Democratic efforts to spur an influx of skilled workers until more is done to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. 

While the U.S. has almost 10 times as many people as Canada, the U.S. brought in the same number — about 275,000 — of legal, employment-based immigrants in fiscal year 2022 as Canada now plans to bring in each year over the next three years, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and drafters of Canada’s new policy. 

In the last session of the U.S. Congress, which

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