Human traffickers are reportedly moving back to a business model they previously favored for decades after the Trump administration tightened asylum loopholes enabling migrant ‘families’ to enter the U.S. en masse in recent years.
Smugglers are now focusing on moving more single adults through their pipelines and into the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“This whole ecosystem of smuggling activity is shifting back into the traditional methods,” acting Deputy Director of DHS Derek Benner told the Washington Examiner. “I’ve just been noticing from our operational tempo and reporting every morning that we’re starting to see more of this activity.”
“The hardening of the border has an effect on the ability of smuggling cartels to exploit it and to sell their services. So you know, in this case, technology, the wall, more Border Patrol agents, more CBP officers, more law enforcement at the border changes tactics.”
In recent years, the flood of migrants at the U.S. southern border was comprised of an increasing number of ‘unaccompanied alien children’ and families.
Previously, the majority of arrivals were single and male.
“By 2019, half of the 851,508 people apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border arrived with a family member, a record high,” the Examiner notes. “DHS responded with several initiatives, such as requiring people seeking asylum at border crossings to wait in Mexico for their day in court and curtailing the ‘catch and release’ policy that had allowed hundreds of thousands of families who illegally crossed the border last year to be released into the country.”
The disturbing practice of ‘recycling’ children also became common procedure in ‘family’ trafficking operations at the border.
“In the past five years we have seen a 620 percent increase in families or those posing as families apprehended at the border. The last fiscal year was the highest on record,” former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress during testimony in March of 2019.
“We have encountered recycling rings where innocent young people are used multiple times to help aliens gain illegal entry. As a nation, we simply cannot stand for this. We must fix the system.”
Benner asserts DHS is now working to target the finances of traffickers and cartels.
“It’s an illicit, illegal business enterprise whose sole purpose across the board is to generate illicit proceeds and make money,” Benner said.
“When we look at identifying the networks, it’s not just to pursue criminal charges against the people involved. Equal importance is dedicated to, ‘How do we dismantle that illicit proceeds network?'”
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