Joe Biden may be the very best friend Mexican drug cartels and other organized criminal gangs south of the border have, at the moment. The border surge has created land-office business for smugglers and human traffickers who are overwhelmed by people looking to make it over the U.S. border.
“They see him as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of Biden the morning after a virtual meeting with his U.S. counterpart on March 1. “We need to work together to regulate the flow, because this business can’t be tackled from one day to the next.”
Previously unreported details in the internal assessments, based on testimonies and intelligence gathering, state that gangs are diversifying methods of smuggling and winning clients as they eye U.S. measures that will “incentivize migration.”
Apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border in February hit levels unseen since mid-2019, and were the highest for that month in 15 years, data reported by Reuters showed.
Among U.S. steps Mexico worries are encouraging migration are improved support for victims of gangs and violence, streamlining of the legalization process, and suspension of Trump-era accords that deported people to Central America.
Mexico is doing its part to contribute to the human wave heading for the border. They’re offering free COVID vaccines for migrants as well as better protection for migrant children.
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But the cartels don’t have to go too far to drum up business.
One Mexican official familiar with migration developments, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said organized crime began changing its modus operandi “from the day Biden took office” and now exhibited “unprecedented” levels of sophistication.
That includes briefing clients on the latest immigration rules, using technology to outfox authorities, and disguising smuggling operations as travel agencies, assessments showed.
“Migrants have become a commodity,” the official said, arguing they were now as valuable as drugs for the gangs. “But if a packet of drugs is lost in the sea, it’s gone. If migrants are lost, it’s human beings we’re talking about.”
The cartels are investing in smuggling infrastructure and it’s paying off. Their networks have become more sophisticated, their procedures more regular and organized.
The border surge has also been a boon to gang recruiting.
Higher concentrations of migrants in border areas have encouraged gangs to recruit some as drug mules, and kidnap others for money, said Cesar Peniche, attorney general of Chihuahua, the state with the longest stretch of U.S. frontier.
Both Mexican and U.S. policy should be more clear-cut so as not to spur illegal immigration, he told Reuters.
“To ease their passage, smugglers advise Central American clients to register complaints with authorities saying they have been victims of extortion or, for young men, that they have faced death threats from street gangs.” It doesn’t matter if they’re lying. They will be believed and welcomed to the United States as “refugees.”
When criminal gangs celebrate the advent of policies that any sane person can see will result in an unprecedented surge of humanity at the border, isn’t it time to question those policies and the idiot who is implementing them?