Clark: Don’t Get Distracted — Cartels Move More Than a Migrant Caravan Daily into U.S.

Video Obtained by Breitbart News

As attention is focused on a single caravan in Mexico consisting of an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 migrants headed to the U.S. southern border, cartels separately move the equivalent into the states each day.

The caravans capture significant media attention by design. They are politically organized and seek to use the clout to bring policy changes. The caravan in Chiapas hopes to force Mexico City to discontinue migrant containment efforts and allow unfettered travel to the United States–with the ultimate goal of softening enforcement protocols in the U.S.

A caravan was an unheard-of term in Border Patrol circles prior to 2018. Despite their hype, caravans are generally unsuccessful in reaching the U.S. intact.

If the latest caravan succeeds in forcing the Government of Mexico to change policies and give migrants free roam to their destination, another pull factor will be established.

Caravans move cheaply, avoiding the cartels’ heavy fees to travel through Mexico. The organizers believe there is safety in numbers and the media attention helps to reduce criminal engagement. The high visibility will, as in the past, force the government to provide aid and comfort. This pattern has angered many Mexican citizens and fostered negative sentiments toward Central Americans in that country.

But while this latest caravan captures headlines, cartels move the size equivalent daily into the U.S. with extreme profit margins.

The Border Patrol apprehended more than 90,000 migrants attempting to illegally cross the border in the first 18 days of October to mark the beginning of Fiscal Year 2022. Media appear to have a more difficult time covering 5,000 migrants entering each day in fractured groups across four states. Regardless, the number of migrants apprehended daily is on par with the current caravan’s headcount.

As the notorious caravan inches northward, ranchers and residents are left to deal with daily property damages and high-speed chases on their local country roads.

The cartels are not offering a gentler travel experience compared to a caravan. They mark migrants with wrist bracelets as evidence of payment to ford the Rio Grande. Unafraid of U.S. law enforcement, they march migrants into populated areas of south Texas cities—even into downtown districts.

Some states are finished waiting on federal responses to common illegal crossing points. Texas Army National Guardsmen are strategically deployed to crossing points amid shortages in Border Patrol manpower. The state is also constructing border wall sections.

Border Patrol agents are stretched thin and away from typical duties because they must process migrants and find detention space—even at the cost of social distancing and adequate COVID-19 screens. Although the agents face a vaccination mandate, migrants have no such expectation. More Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty during this pandemic border crisis than at any time in the agency’s 97-year history.

Approximately one third of the migrant apprehensions made daily by the Border Patrol are being released into the United States due to relaxed and cancelled immigration policies under the current administration. The migrants, many untested for COVID-19, are free to travel to any destination once released. The relatively few migrants who are tested for COVID-19, mostly at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, are released regardless of the outcome.

The caravan is newsworthy without doubt, but it is still a distraction compared to the real crisis.

Randy Clark
 is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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