McALLEN, Texas – The cartels that operate in northern Mexico are profiting from weaknesses in the U.S. immigration system, said Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan during his visit to the Texas border.
The acting secretary visited the Rio Grande Valley where he was met with agents and toured the border at night. He also visited a local migrant shelter for those released by U.S. authorities.
“It is very clear that the cartels and their smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws,” McAleenan said during his visit. “They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entry”
According to DHS figures, authorities are seeing a dramatic increase in enforcement actions compared to previous years.
“[Tuesday], we had 4,800 people cross our border,” McAleenan said. “Facilities, resources, and legal authorities are not able to address the challenges we are seeing.”
In March, authorities recorded 103,492 apprehensions, a figure twice as high as the 50,347 in March 2018 and more than six times the apprehensions in March 2017.
“Smugglers and traffickers profit from human misery by exploiting people seeking a better life,” McAleenan said. “These smugglers and traffickers victimize people in northern Mexico, increasing violence in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, just south of the Rio Grande Valley and leave misery in their wake.”
According to McAleenan, cartels and their smugglers in Mexico and Central America are able to game the current immigration system–knowing that certain migrants, family units and unaccompanied children, will be released “and allowed to stay in the U.S. indefinitely pending court procedures that can be years-out.”
While children and migrants from Mexico can be sent back rapidly, those from Central America and other countries are regularly allowed to stay.
“This is due to court orders that undermine the integrity of our immigration system,” he said. There is no question why this is happening … The only way to change this is for Congress to act and to reinstate integrity to our immigration system.”
McAleenan said the federal government has encountered 3,000 family units that were fraudulent, and his agents have also witnessed child recycling rings where the same child is used several times to cross the border so that adult migrants can claim family status and be released under court precedent.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.