Cubans are arriving to the US in record numbers. Smugglers are profiting from their exodus

See where they're goingHavana, Cuba CNN —As Cuba confronts the worst shortages of food and medicine in decades and runaway inflation, a new exodus of the island’s citizens is underway.
“I was done after July 11,” Claudia told CNN.
I basically work for free.”Cubans that have just crossed the US-Mexico border huddle near a fire in Yuma, Arizona in February.
The Cubans from the two flights were taken to a nearby police station and the officers kept their passports, she said.
There, she said a handful of armed smugglers told more than 30 migrants to wait in two stiflingly hot rooms until they could attempt the border crossing.
And in 1980, during the “Mariel Boatlift,” an estimated 125,000 Cubans fled to the US on a flotilla of boats.
According to US Customs and Border Protection data, nearly 80,000 Cubans reached the US border from Mexico from October through March.
Suddenly Cubans began posting online ads selling their homes with “everything inside” to pay for the expensive airfare.
Amanda Perobelli/ReutersIncreasing shortages on basic goods are what’s driving many people to leave the island, English teacher Kailen Rodríguez told CNN in April as she waited outside Panama’s embassy for a visa.
Meanwhile, migrants like Claudia will likely continue to pay criminal organizations to take them on the dangerous and uncertain journey to the US.
As they reached the border, Claudia said the group could see lights – a McDonalds – from the Arizona side.
Under the 1996 Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who spend a year in the US are able to apply to become permanent residents.
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