Everywhere we look, migrants are heading to the United States in droves, not caring a whit about our immigration policies or laws. They are arriving by the thousands each day, taxing our border patrol agents and our citizens. Despite President Donald Trump’s determination to build a border wall and the administration’s efforts to implement tougher regulations on immigration control, the surge in illegal aliens trying to gain access grows at alarming rates.
Why? Shouldn’t our crackdown on illegal crossings and the media’s hype about caging children and separating families give migrants some pause to consider? Apparently not, especially when there are so many encouraging them to come to the land of the free with its promise of free food, housing, jobs, medical care, legal representation, and voting rights. Adding to the temptation, newspaper and radio ads target vulnerable migrants, telling them to go to America to realize their dreams. The problem is, most of these ads are sponsored by human smugglers, looking to pad their already bulging pockets and capitalize on the growing and profitable market of human trafficking.
#BORDERNEWS Immigrants tell me they're coming to the U.S. because they're seeing advertisements on their local newspapers and TV stations, about better opportunities and free help from Americans if they enter illegally. My #Exclusive report straight from the border. #Immigration pic.twitter.com/mpRdg2hes7
— Sydney Hernandez (@SydneyKGBT) April 15, 2019
Fox News host Maria Bartiromo did an exclusive interview with border patrol agents in the Rio Grande region of Texas, one of the highest trafficked places for crossings in the nation. The agent told the correspondent about the radio ads and their effectiveness:
“The word is definitely out. They have advertisements by radio. You listen to your radio on your way to work, on your way to the grocery store. And that country is advertising, ‘If you want the American dream, we’ll help you out — we’ll teach you how to get it in the United States.’”
During Bartiromo’s tour, the agent pointed out the river, which at this time of the season is dry, and just how close Mexico is to the U.S. border. As Bartiromo talked with the border patrol, she spotted a family crossing – in broad daylight — appearing unafraid of running to U.S. authorities. In fact, many migrants
search for agents so that they can get their paperwork and be on their way. Bartiromo spoke with a
Honduran woman who said “a lot of people” told her she would be able to stay and get to her destination of Oklahoma City if she crossed.
Another Honduran woman who had been stopped near the Rio Grande Valley told patrol agents that “the whole word knows, they put it in the news. They tell us everywhere if you come to the United States, they’ll help you.”
The Profit of Human Smuggling
A study by the Rand Corporation looked at the effects of increasing illegal immigration and human smuggling. The report estimated that, in 2017, smugglers secured between $200 million and $2.3 billion in revenue. These figures relate to migrants being smuggled in from the Northern Triangle – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Immigrants are coached on what to say and the best ways to get into the United States. A pastor from Guatemala said he’d been told that single fathers traveling with their children will have a better chance to enter.
“Yes, we’ve been told that, we read it in our newspapers. That’s why we’re here,” the pastor said. “We’ve been told if you are a father you can bring your child, and you will be helped here if you’re in that situation.”
Agustín Marcos, 44, is considering taking his 17-year-old daughter to the United States. “On my own, they’ll charge me $11,700,” he said, “but if I go with her, it’s $5,200 for both of us, and it’ll be easier to get in.”
Germán, an elementary school teacher in Guatemala, also recruits clients for smugglers, known as coyotes. He told The Guardian that “it’s never been easier for us to get families in [the United States]. Everyone wins. People want to leave, and we help them. And I happen to make money in the process.”
And what is the cost to buy supposed freedom in America?
Germán’s operation charges between $7,800 and $11,000, with cheaper options for those brave enough to take more deadly routes.
A smuggler, identified only as “Daniel” by The Guardian, explained his price tag and what it covers. He said prices have nearly doubled, “a reflection of higher bribes for officials and Mexican crime groups along the route.” He also said those who surrender themselves at U.S. ports of entry pay less since there is less risk. Just take a look at how Daniel broke down the price for smuggling and where the money goes:
“Up to half of the total goes toward paying off criminal groups and officials in Mexico. Buses typically pay about $2,600 at each of five checkpoints. In the border state of Sonora, they must pay another $20,000 ($500 per person) to organized crime groups.
“After deducting food, water, fake documents, and other expenses, the remainder is divided between the six members of the smuggling chain and the bus driver. Daniel makes roughly $650 a trip.”
March 2019 saw the highest number of illegals trying to cross the border in more than a decade, with more than 103,000 apprehended or turned back. Will April totals be even higher? With the promise of freedom and support bombarding hopefuls in newspaper and radio ads, it’s no surprise the tallies are greater.
Bus is generally the safest way to cross Mexico because it depends on bribing officials rather than skirting checkpoints. Building the border wall will not stop all illegal crossings, but it will deter it and make it easier for border authorities to maintain some semblance of control.
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