Mexico’s government is worried that the new lax asylum policies implemented by ‘Migrant President Biden’ are stoking illegal immigration and creating business for organized crime, according to officials and internal assessments seen by Reuters.
Ever since President Joe Biden won the White House vowing to undo the hardline approach of his predecessor Donald Trump, Mexico has both looked forward to an end to migration burdens imposed by Trump, and braced for a new influx of people.
‘They see him as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States,’ Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of Biden the morning after a virtual meeting with his U.S. counterpart on March 1.
One Mexican official familiar with migration developments, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said organized crime began changing its modus operandi ‘from the day Biden took office’ and now exhibited ‘unprecedented’ levels of sophistication.
That includes briefing clients on the latest immigration rules, using technology to outfox authorities, and disguising smuggling operations as travel agencies, assessments showed.
‘Migrants have become a commodity,’ the official said, arguing they were now as valuable as drugs for the gangs. ‘But if a packet of drugs is lost in the sea, it’s gone. If migrants are lost, it’s human beings we’re talking about.’
Mexico’s security ministry, foreign ministry and national migration institute did not reply to requests for comment for this story. The White House and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers are using a system of colored wristbands to track migrants who pay to cross illegally into the United States, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Hundreds of colored plastic wristbands left behind by migrants have been spotted lying along the banks of the Rio Grande in the scrubby grassland near Penitas, Texas.
Migrants Wearing Colored Wristbands
A witness told Reuters that migrants crossing the river on makeshift rafts would rip off and dump the red, blue, green and white wristbands. Some were marked ‘arrivals’ or ‘entries’ in Spanish.
Use of the plastic wristbands – which had not been widely reported before – are used by some immigrants who are trying to evade border agents. Others are mostly Central American families or young children traveling without parents who turn themselves into officials, often to seek asylum.
CBP spokesman Matthew Dyman said border patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector, which spans more than 34,000 square miles along the border in southeast Texas, have recently encountered immigrants wearing the bracelets during several apprehension.
‘Information on the bracelets represents a multitude of data that is used by smuggling organizations, such as payment status or affiliation with smuggling groups,’ Dyman told Reuters.
Texas Department of Public Safety retired captain Jaeson Jones told the Center for Immigration Studies that the first set of wristbands were located by CBP agents as early as February. Some of the wristbands also contained a logo, such as a devil face or turtle, the latter being the logo of choice of a human trafficking group linked to the Gulf Cartel.
The wrist band system in a way is similar to what smugglers used on a group of 32 undocumented immigrants from Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador who were all wearing white t-shirts marked with bold letters when they were found inside a tractor-trailer by CBP agents near Laredo, Texas, in April 2020.
Migrant President Biden Causes Border Crisis
The number of child migrants is proving particularly problematic for the Biden administration who continues to claim there’s no ‘Migrant Crisis” just a ‘Migrant Challenge
More than 3,250 unaccompanied minors are currently being held at the border. Lacking sufficient facilities and amid coronavirus burdens, more than 1,360 have been detained beyond the three days allowed by law, according to New York Times data.
Nearly 170 of those being detained are younger than 13, NBC News reported.
A total of 9,000 unaccompanied children crossed the border in February, according to data reviewed by the network.
A wave of immigrants appears to be drawn by Biden’s pledge to relax restrictions and provide a path to citizenship for people who are already living here.
Child arrivals have tripled in the last two weeks, but on Tuesday the White House said they would not term the situation a ‘crisis’.