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Cartels smugglers exploit fears over border wall, Trump’s crackdown on Illegal immigration

January 16, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cartels smugglers exploit fears over border wall, Trump’s crackdown on Illegal immigration

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Mexican drug cartels and human traffickers are taking advantage of the situation before Donald Trump’s inauguration by exploiting anxiety over his pledge to build a border wall and crack down on illegal immigration – causing the latest surge across the border into the U.S.

The president-elect reemphasized his vow at a news conference on Wednesday to create a “wall” – which he claims will control illegal immigration, diminish gun violence, and prevent drugs from being smuggled into the States.

Currently, however, the Obama administration’s leniency over illegal immigration, along with concerns about Trump’s crackdown, has resulted in a surge in crossings from California to Texas.

“There’s a percentage of folks who believe that they could beat the clock,” said Jose Villareal, who is chief of operations for the Border Patrol at the Rio Grande Valley sector.

Illegal immigration has surged at the border ahead of Trump Presidency

Cameron County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Robert Rodriguez said in an interview with Fox News that he’s noticed noted an increase in the flow of border crossers since Trump’s election win.

“I can feel the anxiety,” Rodriguez stated. “You can cut it with a knife.”

He added: “We see more and more people cross every day… The cartels are taking advantage of people being scared.”

Rodriguez guards a patch of road that includes the most southern point of Texas. He’s seen beaten and lifeless bodies float down the Rio Grande River and is no stranger to corpses – ranging from babies to elderly men in their 80s – spread along the land. Some of the victims were shot by drug bosses, human traffickers, and cartel members, while others were stranded by their “coyotes” – which are paid guides to help people cross the border.

Rodriguez, who said that he’s been involved in two shootouts, has seen individuals come on foot, packed in vehicles, and ferried in rafts over the Rio Grande.

Trump’s proposed vow to crack down on illegal immigration has prompted the surge of migrants ahead of his inauguration

In November, agents with U.S. Border Patrol captured 47,214 migrants along the U.S. border – an increase of 44% compared with the year before. November was the Border Patrol’s most hectic month since June 2014. Over the past six months, agents have apprehended close to a quarter-million migrants — about 1,300 a day — attempting to cross illegally.

“Smugglers are telling them that they need to come now while there’s a chance,” said Art Del Cueto, a Border Patrol agent in Tucson, Arizona.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol dispatched 150 more officers in response to patrol the southwest border. They also opened two temporary buildings to detain thousands of people attempting to cross illegally.

“CBP is prepared to add housing, beds, toilets and bathing facilities as necessary,” they revealed in a comment. “CBP is addressing this migratory surge along the southwest border in a humane way, consistent with our border security mission and our American values.”

However, the border itself continues to be a challenge with relation to illegal immigration.

In the Rio Grande Valley, only 54 of the 315 miles of the border have a fence. The area, made up of 34,000 square miles of U.S. territory, accounts for over half of the immigrant apprehensions each year.

Rodriguez, who was the son of Mexican immigrant workers who illegally crossed the border decades ago and later became naturalized citizens, believes talk of the border wall is Washington window-dressing for a more complex issue.

“Smugglers change their tactics all the time,” he noted, adding that with a wall, individuals can get “underneath it, over it or around it.”

For some citizens in the area, the surge of border crossers before Trump takes office has produced fear.

One resident in the McAllen-area, who asked to remain anonymous out of safety concerns for her children, said she has noticed a “big jump” in numbers.

“The area is enormous, and there aren’t enough [police] out here,” she added. “We see people cross all the time. Could we say something? Should we? Of course, but what about our kids?”

Rodriguez states that intimidation by cartel members is normal and that scouts for coyotes and gangs are everywhere.

“One day, a resident complains and the next, there’s a blacked-out SUV in front of their house,” he noted. “They get the message.”

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