In a March 10 article captioned "Exclusive: 'Migrant president' Biden stirs Mexican angst over boom time for gangs", Reuters explains how the administration's border policies are breeding crime and exploitation in Mexico, and how they are being exploited by criminal gangs south of the border. It is an eye-popping read, one that portrays naïve Biden bureaucrats (and you) as suckers.
That reporting is based on internal assessments in Mexico, as well interviews with that government's officials, starting at the top. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (popularly known as "AMLO") explains that migrants making their way to the Southwest border see Biden "as the migrant president, and so many feel they're going to reach the United States".
The Biden administration seems to go from disaster to disaster (or in the words of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, "challenge to challenge") on immigration as it attempts to put out fires left and right along the border, with no coherent plan except to tell migrants (futilely): "They need — they need to wait."
AMLO complains about this makeshift process, asserting that the United States and Mexico "need to work together to regulate the flow, because this business can't be tackled from one day to the next."
An unnamed Mexican official confirms what many immigration experts (myself included) have argued, that organized crime groups began changing the way they do business "from the day Biden took office", and have started to game the new system with "'unprecedented' levels of sophistication".
Those smugglers are providing briefings to migrants on the new Biden policies, utilizing social media to evade detection, "and disguising smuggling operations as travel agencies", according to assessments Reuters reviewed.
Migrants have ditched the caravan-model of recent years, opting to travel in smaller groups to outfox Mexican authorities. Smugglers are using "Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube" (among other apps) to "update migrants on impending checkpoints, when freight trains they can jump on pass, where to stay and how to navigate immigration laws".
Mark Zuckerberg, call your office.
Here's the "sucker" part. According to assessments seen by 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.
In other words, smugglers have been telling migrants to lie about harm in their home countries in order to enter the United States illegally.
It's no wonder that only about 17 percent of the aliens who were apprehended at the border and who asserted a fear of harm if returned to get into this country between FY 2008 and the fourth quarter of FY 2019 were granted asylum, according to DOJ. And why about 33 percent of them failed to show up in court.
In case you feel like a rube already, it only gets worse, as Reuters reports that "as in previous years, migrants are being told to bring along children to make it easier to apply for asylum."
Why bring a kid with you? Because (as I have explained in the past) in 2016, the Ninth Circuit said DHS could not detain a child migrant who had been brought with his or her parents for more than 20 days. To avoid "family separation", the parents get released, too.
That is why they have been flooding bus stations at the border in recent weeks. Even Greyhound is complaining, and asking for government cash.
That circuit court opinion sustained a 2015 district court decision, which made that arbitrary 20-day deadline up out of whole cloth. It began with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it." I doubt the judge there knew how ironic the Mahatma's words would be in this context.
In case you view such mendacity as a "victimless crime", you are wrong, as Reuters explains. It quotes Cesar Peniche, attorney general of the border state of Chihuahua, who states: "Higher concentrations of migrants in border areas have encouraged gangs to recruit some as drug mules, and kidnap others for money." That does not include other hells smugglers mete out, which I have described previously.
To run such risks, migrants are paying anywhere between $3,250 (for a Central American minor) to $20,000 (for African nationals) in smuggling fees, according to the outlet. Travelers from Asia have to pony up more.
AMLO is right to be concerned. The irony does not end with the Gandhi quote, however.
Reuters reports that the Mexican government is considering "improving the infrastructure" (read: "building walls") on its southern border with Guatemala, and quotes a different anonymous Mexican official, who said: "Mexico spends more on every new wave of migrants than that would cost. ... We have to do it."
Why has the Biden administration decided to implement seemingly ad-hoc policies on the Southwest border? I don't know, but it sounds like campaign rhetoric has run into smuggler reality. If the president wants to end the fraud, and the exploitation of would-be migrants, however, he had better shift gears quick.
He should just ask AMLO. And his staff should read their Gandhi.