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Feds Raise Concerns Over New Pathway Fueling Migrant Crisis

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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U.S. officials are encountering an increasing number of migrants from the African nation of Senegal who are taking advantage of a new pathway to reach the southern border, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.

There are groups posing as travel agencies in the capital of Senegal that help migrants get to the U.S.-Mexico border by obtaining a visa to travel through the European Union, the spokesperson said. Border Patrol had more than 23,000 migrants in custody as of Tuesday evening, according to internal agency data obtained by the DCNF. (RELATED: Immigration Courts Add A Whopping One Million Cases To Backlog As Border Crisis Worsens)

“Pseudo legitimate travel agencies are emerging in cities like Dakar advertising travel to the US. They advertise visa free travel to Europe to Senegalese, which when you get a Schengen visa allows travel to the Western Hemisphere,” the CBP spokesperson said.

“They sell complete packages to connect them to a smuggling organization that will then facilitate their movement up to the border,” the spokesperson added.

EAGLE PASS, TEXAS – DECEMBER 19: In an aerial view, thousands of immigrants, most wearing thermal blankets, await processing at a U.S. Border Patrol transit center on December 19, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A Border Patrol agent that’s apprehended some Senegalese migrants in recent weeks told the DCNF that it is difficult to vet them because they will be heard speaking English before their interviews, when they say they don’t speak the language.

“They will be talking then you start questioning and all of a sudden they don’t speak English,” the agent said.

As migrants continue to cross the southern border illegally in record numbers, CBP has closed ports of entry in San Ysidro, California, Lukeville, Arizona, El Paso, and Eagle Pass, Texas, redirecting more than 100 Office of Field Operations employees as well as law enforcement personnel from other agencies to help Border Patrol, the CBP spokesperson said. The agency has also recruited the assistance of the Bureau of Prisons to help transport illegal migrants.

“The encounter levels we are currently seeing across the southwest border are presenting a serious challenge to the men and women of CBP. To meet this challenge, we are using all available resources to ensure the safety and security of our agents and officers, and the migrants who are often misled and victimized by the transnational criminal organizations,” Troy A. Miller, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement to the DCNF.

“These smugglers are recklessly putting migrants into harm’s way: in remote locations across the border, onto the tops of trains, or into the waters of the Rio Grande River. We continue to go after the smugglers and are implementing new measures to impose consequences on transportation companies including bus and van lines used by smuggling organizations and nefarious actors to move migrants through northern Mexico and to our southwest border,” Miller added, saying the agency needs funding from Congress to address the issue.

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