The human smuggling industry has flourished under Biden as the crisis on the border continues.
Many of these smuggling operations are being run by the cartels and have had an incredibly prosperous year so far. It’s gotten to the point now where they are offering VIP packages that include special perks.
“Susana, a 35-year-old from El Salvador desperate to come to the U.S., had heard stories of migrants being raped and murdered. So she paid a hefty $10,000 early this year for a VIP package: It came with a promise to smuggle her to Houston with “guaranteed security,” rides, food, lodging and no long walks.
Susana made it to Houston in February, but only after a harrowing, month-long journey and another $2,000 payment at the end of the trip.
Though the VIP — or “all included” — packages often fall short of the guarantees, they are becoming more common as migrant smugglers adapt to increased restrictions at the border and greater demand from Central Americans seeking to get to the U.S.
The business of smuggling migrants grew more sophisticated during the Trump administration, which hardened policies for legal immigration and toughened enforcement against illegal entries…
Migrants’ accounts, studies and Latin American media reports suggest that prices for smugglers’ services to come to America rose more than 40 percent in 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency. A trip like Susana’s went from $7,000 to $10,000 that year, according to El Faro, an investigative media outlet in El Salvador, and other reports.
“We have been seeing more and more people coming to Houston using VIP packages during the last couple of years,” said Elmer Romero, an executive with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in Hoston.
Now, with the Biden administration, human smugglers are exploiting desperate migrants with the false idea of a new president in the White House who has opened the border, making them think they can stay in the U.S. once they cross…
“The smugglers are very well organized,” said Susana. She said she and other migrants coming with her had to wear a wristband while in Mexico that identified which cartel or smuggling organization was handling them.
The colored plastic wristband, sometimes with written notes, is more visible and unmistakable than traditional verbal codes. U.S. border officials say it is a growing trend among powerful smuggling operations to track people paying to cross illegally.
Numerous migrants told the Chronicle that smuggling enterprises south of the U.S. border often operate with impunity. They often function with the complicity of local law enforcement agents who look the other way in exchange for a bribe.”
Human smuggling has become so lucrative, Border Patrol Del Rio Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II says it has become more profitable for the cartels than drugs.
He says in the Del Rio sector alone, these cartels are earning about $25 million per week smuggling illegals across the border.
Skero says “our agents are exhausted” from working a lot of overtime over the past eight months. He says instead of patrolling the border a lot of them are tied up processing those who have been apprehended.
Meanwhile, the scope of the crisis at the border grows as Customs & Border Protection says they intercepted 180,034 illegal immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border in May…that’s a 20-year high.