Panel: Cartels, Human Smuggling, and the Asylum Surge

Video and Transcript Available

By CIS on October 15, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 14, 2016) – Large numbers of illegal aliens demanding asylum continue to arrive at the U.S. southwest border with the help of transnational criminal organizations. The Center for Immigration Studies hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 19, focusing on the asylum surge, the policies which have created the influx, the cartels' role in this phenomenon, and policy prescriptions to address it.

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Book: The Hunt for Maan Singh

Panel Video: Cartels, Human Smuggling, and Panel

Transcript: Cartels, Human Smuggling, and the Asylum Surge

The discussion featured Hipolito Acosta and A.J. Irwin, who for decades worked as federal immigration agents undercover pursuing human smugglers thousands of miles from the U.S. border. They oversaw high-profile investigations and undercover missions involving illegal smuggling operations. Their experience allows them to provide keen insight into the dangers facing asylum seekers, the extraordinary enrichment the smuggling provides the cartels, and the government's ability to end this dangerous trend that U.S. policies have stoked.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 19, at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: National Press Club, Murrow Room, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, D.C.


Mr. Acosta, one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Service, rose through the ranks from Border Patrol Agent to District Director, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services in Houston. He is the author of The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent infiltrates Mexico's Deadly Crime Cartels and co-author with A.J. Irwin of The Hunt for Maan Singh, the story of the largest alien smuggling organization ever dismantled in United States history.

Mr. Irwin, a highly decorated former federal agent, led ICE investigative operations for the central corridor of the United States. He served as lead case agent in the largest corporate criminal immigration investigation in U.S. history and the largest human trafficking investigation, leading to the prosecution of three separate criminal organizations. He is the co-author of The Hunt for Maan Singh, which describes the covert operation that destroyed a worldwide smuggling syndicate.

Ms. Vaughan serves as the Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies. Mrs. Vaughan covers the operational side of the Center's immigration research, including immigration enforcement, visa programs and benefits adjudication. Prior to joining the Center, Mrs. Vaughan was a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. Much of Ms. Vaughan's research and writing focuses on immigration and crime, including a Department of Justice-funded project studying the use of immigration law enforcement in transnational gang suppression efforts.

Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies





Topics: Asylum