- The Biden administration is giving a pathway for migrants to come to the U.S. through the CBP One phone application that has incentivized some to make dangerous journeys that include extortion and kidnapping, multiple outlets reported.
- A historic number of migrants have utilized the process to enter the U.S. through ports of entry in recent months, including a historic high of 45,026 port encounters in June alone, according to federal data.
- “This administration’s misuse of the CBP One app to speed up the process of release is incentivizing even more migrants across Central America to make the dangerous and even deadly journey through Mexico and to our Southwest border. Cartels know this and are profiting off these vulnerable people,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
One of the Biden administration’s leading immigration programs is incentivizing migrants to come to the U.S. on dangerous journeys, according to multiple reports.
The Biden administration began allowing migrants to use CBP One to book appointments at ports of entry to come to the U.S. legally via the southern border in anticipation of the end of Title 42, a Trump-era public health expulsion policy, in May, leading ports of entry encounters to reach a new high of 45,026 after hitting 35,000 in May, according to CBP data. The app is only functional for this process in Mexico, meaning migrants from Latin America and beyond have still had to make the perilous journeys the Biden administration asserts it’s trying to prevent them from taking through Central America and the deadly Darien jungle in Panama connecting the continent. (RELATED: House GOP Releases Massive Report Alleging That Mayorkas ‘Ignored’ Laws, Lied To Congress)
“This administration’s misuse of the CBP One app to speed up the process of release is incentivizing even more migrants across Central America to make the dangerous and even deadly journey through Mexico and to our Southwest border. Cartels know this and are profiting off these vulnerable people,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Most disturbing is how cartels victimize women and children, even leaving some to fend for themselves in the desert. The Biden administration’s policies are opening the door for cartels to rake in billions of dollars and spread their web of destruction across the Southwest border and the country. This is abhorrent and it must be stopped,” Green said.
Cartels’ smuggling operations have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry, The New York Times reported in July 2022.
The Biden administration created the program so migrants “do not need to take that dangerous journey to our southern border in pursuit of humanitarian relief,” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a talk Thursday at The Aspen Institute Security Forum.
“The level of tragedy and trauma that we observe is something that we feel compelled to avoid,” Mayorkas added.
In one instance, the U.S. government temporarily closed the port of entry to Laredo, Texas, to CBP One interviews in June because the migrants in Mexico faced extortion threats from local officials, according to The Associated Press.
Venezuelan migrant Rafael Alvarez, 29, told the AP that he and other migrants were held hostage from their appointments until they could pay officials.
Jessica Vaughan, director for Policy Studies in the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), testified to a congressional committee Wednesday that the program doesn’t stop the enrichment of the cartels and human smugglers.
“Biden officials claim that the CBP One policy is a great success because the illegal migrants no longer have to do business with the cartels. We should be skeptical of this claim,” Vaughan told members of the House Homeland Security Committee in a hearing entitled, “Biden and Mayorkas’ Open Border: Advancing Cartel Crime in America.”
“First of all, CBP One can only be used from locations in northern Mexico, and the migrants still have to get there, and for most that still means paying a cartel through smugglers. And the CBP One appointment itself turns out to be yet another opportunity for them to extort the migrants,” Vaughan said.
CBP says its use of the phone app to allow migrants entry into the country “remains a key component of DHS efforts to incentivize migrants to use lawful and orderly processes and disincentivize attempts at crossing between ports of entry.” The agency has also credited the app for driving illegal immigration down.
As migrants have made the journey to reach the promise of CBP One access and entrance into the U.S., they’ve been met by threats from criminal groups that see the app as a business opportunity, according to multiple reports.
A group of 15 migrants were kidnapped while traveling by bus in Reynosa, Mexico, which is across from the Texas border city of McAllen, the Miami Herald reported in late May. The kidnappers used the promise of CBP One to lure the migrants into their extortion scheme, a migrant named Jose told the AP of the incident.
In Jose’s case, the kidnappers called his father, Elias, and demanded payment in exchange for his son to be freed, according to the Miami Herald.
“We were in the bus and they got on and started to ask us for our documents,” Jose told the Miami Herald. “They took us, telling us lies, saying we had to do the CBP One, which they will help us to process…. In the end they took us down by force and took us to a hotel and placed us inside a room.”
“There were people who had been there for two weeks, others had been there for months,” Jose said. “The one who was there the longest, had been there for four months,” Jose said.
In some instances, cartels in Mexico had redirected migrants from the ports of entry to cross illegally, News Nation reported July 7.
“So don’t worry, you’re gonna get across and get and remain in America anyway,” National Border Patrol Vice President Art del Cueto told News Nation. “The reason they do that is because they know that causes that distraction that the drug cartels need in order to bring their drugs back into the country when agents are preoccupied somewhere else.”
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