Retired ICE Agent: Surge in Human Smuggling and Crime Due to Cartels That Benefitted From Open Border Policy

By Li Hai
Li Hai
Li Hai
Li Hai is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
and Roman Balmakov
Roman Balmakov
Roman Balmakov
Roman Balmakov is a Reporter with The Epoch Times and host of the show, “Facts Matter.” He has travelled around the country (as well as overseas) covering protests, riots, and elections. He is also the producer of many Epoch Times’ commercials, both on TV and social media.
July 13, 2021 Updated: July 13, 2021

Mexican cartels have benefitted from the Biden administration’s open-border policy, contributing to more human smuggling across the border and the crime surge in American cities, according to Victor Avila, a retired special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“We’re having a crisis at the border, and the people that are benefiting are the organized crime and these cartels, which has spilled into the United States,” Avila told The Epoch Times at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas.

“I’ve seen [human smuggling and child trafficking] for many years. I rescued countless women and children from these horrific conditions of organizations that traffic women and children into the U.S. for sexual exploitation purposes,” Avila continued. “But right now, what we’re seeing is just an expansion of that because of the open borders policy under the Biden administration.”

Epoch Times Photo
Border Patrol agents apprehend 21 illegal aliens from Mexico who had hidden in a grain hopper on a freight train heading to San Antonio, near Uvalde, Texas, on June 21, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

President Joe Biden rescinded key border and immigration policies implemented by the Trump administration soon after taking office, most notably halting construction of the border wall construction and “Remain in Mexico” policy.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said the border is not open, with Vice President Kamala Harris saying they want to focus on the “root causes” of migration.

“The cartels used to be drug cartels,” Avila said. “They used to deal with drug trafficking, but once they noticed that the humans pay a lot more money, they have taken over.”

Avila said that individuals wanting to cross the southern border have to deal with the cartels and pay them a fee. And the individuals are not only from Mexico or Central America, but from all over the world.

“I want people to think of the cartels not as a drug gang, not as a group. Think of them as Amazon,” Avila added.

“They have billions of dollars. They’re highly sophisticated, highly organized. They have all the equipment, militarized weapons, that’s how sophisticated they are,” Avila said. “They’re headquartered in Mexico. But they function everywhere in the United States and 40 countries around the world.”

Avila survived a violent ambush by a Mexican drug cartel when he was on assignment in Mexico in 2011. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and another special agent, Jaime Zapata, was killed in the ambush.

According to Avila, ICE operates not only in the United States. It has a presence in 76 countries around the world.

“[The cartels] have terrorized not only the country of Mexico, but are killing our youth,” Avila said, noting that the latest figure he saw was over 800,000 deaths due to fentanyl in the last seven years.

“The crime surge that we see in the United States right now, a lot of it is attributed back to organized crime and the cartels,” Avila continued. “For gangs in Chicago, St. Louis, Maryland, who do you think they work with? Who do you think they work for?”

“The cartels. Because they’re pushing their product, the cartels are their president, making sure that their product is being sold, and the proceeds are getting back to them,” Avila said.

Avila said that the cartels need to be designated as foreign terrorist organizations “so the United States government can deal with them differently.”

In his book “Agent Under Fire,” Avila pointed out that if the cartels are designated as foreign terrorist organizations, government agencies could seize their key assets and funds, support organizations that combat the cartels, eradicate the cartels efficiently—giving those who broke the law stiffer sentences, and the financial institutions would be barred from doing any businesses with cartels or their members.

“It is out of control what was happening at the border—I’ve seen it firsthand—and now it’s only getting worse,” Avila said.

Li Hai
Li Hai
Li Hai is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
Roman Balmakov
Roman Balmakov
Roman Balmakov is a Reporter with The Epoch Times and host of the show, “Facts Matter.” He has travelled around the country (as well as overseas) covering protests, riots, and elections. He is also the producer of many Epoch Times’ commercials, both on TV and social media.