The chaotic influx of illegal immigrants into the United States at the southern border has given cartels the green light to human trafficking, sex trafficking, and creating routes to funnel lethal drugs, says former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott.
Since March 2021, Border Patrol agents have been arresting at least 5,000 illegal immigrants daily on average at the southwest border, which has “overwhelm[ed] their resources” and has in turn created “huge gaps in border security,” Scott told NTD’s Cindy Drukier during an interview on The Nation Speaks on March 12.
“The cartels have figured out how to leverage [these gaps], and then they bring in the narcotics … and the people that are being trafficked,” Scott said, adding that criminals have also been smuggled into the nation through these channels.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, the number of encounters at the southwest border has jumped from 458,088 in the fiscal year of 2020 to 1.7 million encounters in the fiscal year of 2021.
U.S. CBP data also showed that agents arrested 178,840 immigrants in December 2021, an increase of more than 100,000 from the year before, which brought the total number of apprehensions for 2021 to a record of more than 2 million.
Scott said that border policies under the Biden administration and the reversal of Trump-era immigration policies have exacerbated the border crisis.
“This administration put out a global messaging that we were not going to deport any minors, and that we were going to do our best to not separate families and then not deport them either,” Scott stated, adding that these policies have created a “market to create families, to either push people across the border that are underage by themselves, or to team them up with a family that’s not necessarily theirs,” which is in effect a practice of “renting children out,” bringing human trafficking to a whole new level.
The border wall construction, an operation placed on hold by the Biden administration, was “making every single Border Patrol agent more effective on the border” by covering a “larger area,” Scott told Steve Lance during a January interview with NTD.
Alma Tucker, former investigative officer for the Child Protection Unit with the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, told NTD’s Cindy Drukier in a March 12 interview that the current administration has been putting out “bad message[s]” about “no child [having to] stay behind” and that families will be “complete,” which has in turn lured people “to the border with Mexico trying to get into the United States.”
However many migrants end up being held ransom by the cartels until their “families send the money” for migrants to “cross the border.”
Tucker, who runs three group homes for young adults and survivors of human trafficking, gave the example of a mother and child who both became victims of sexual assault even though the mother had to work every evening to pay cartels to guarantee safe entry into the United States.
“They need work and they don’t have [a] permit to work. Many of them don’t want to apply for [a] permit to work in Mexico, because they feel like, well, if we get an asylum in Mexico, then [the] United States will not priorit[ise their entry] into the country,” Tucker continued.
Biden defended border policies in March 2021 after being pressed by reporters on whether border policies are signaling to migrants that they will be able to cross the border.
In the case of a 9-year-old boy from Honduras whose mother had sent him to the United States because she believed Biden’s policies would not allow unaccompanied minors to be deported, Biden said he would never tell an unaccompanied child that “we’re just going to let him starve to death and stand on the other side” of the border.
“The judgment has to be made whether or not” the child is deported or is allowed to remain in the country. In this case, Biden said that the child “has a mom at home. There’s an overwhelming reason why he’d be put in a plane and flown back to his mom.”
He also vowed to accommodate unaccompanied minors with “safe, secure beds and facilities” while authorities reach out to families of the children.
Biden announced on March 12 that the administration was formally ending the expulsion of illegal immigrant children through the use of a pandemic-era rule.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), terminated the public health order known as Title 42 with respect to youths who arrive at the border without a responsible adult. Those youths are referred to as unaccompanied children.
Title 42, imposed during the Trump administration, enabled immigration authorities to expel illegal immigrants because of concerns that they posed a health threat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In effect, this means that unaccompanied noncitizen children will not be expelled from the United States under CDC’s order,” the CDC stated on March 12.
Zachary Stieber and Masooma Haq contributed to this report.