Judge: DHS Complicit in Human Trafficking that Helps Fund Drug Cartels

Judge: DHS Complicit in Human Trafficking that Helps Fund Drug Cartels

A United States federal judge has accused President Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of being complicit in helping Mexican drug cartels and felons inside America smuggle illegal aliens into the country.

In a court order he signed on Dec. 13, 2013, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas wrote that four times in the last four weeks he has heard troubling cases involving the DHS’s complicity in helping smuggle people across the border to their final destination.

This particular court opinion involved a case where Mirtha Veronica Nava-Martinez attempted to smuggle a ten-year old El Salvadorean female, whom Judge Hanen referred to only by her initials Y.P.S. to protect the minor’s identity, into the country. Nava-Martinez pled guilty and has been sentenced; Judge Hanen wrote after the case:

On May 18, 2013, Nava-Martinez, an admitted human trafficker, was caught at the Brownsville & Matamoras Bridge checkpoint. She was trying to smuggle Y.P.S. into the United States using a birth certificate that belonged to one of her daughters. Nava-Martinez had no prior relationship with Y.P.S. and was hired by persons unknown solely to smuggle her into the United States. Nava-Martinez is a resident alien and this was her second felony offense in three years, having committed a food stamp fraud offense in 2011. She was to be paid for smuggling Y.P.S. from Matamoras to Brownsville, although the identity of her immediate payor and the amount are unknown. The details as to how Y.P.S. got to Matamoros, Mexico from El Salvador, and how she was to get from Brownsville to Virginia, were also not disclosed to the Court.

Hanen noted that the “conspiracy” began when Y.P.S.’s mother, Patricia Elizabeth Salmeron Santos, “solicited human traffickers to smuggle” her daughter from their home country of El Salvador into the United States and onward to her residence in Virginia.

Salmeron Santos, Hanen wrote, had “applied for a tourist visa in 2000, but was turned down,” adding, “Despite being denied legal entry into the United States, she entered the United States illegally and is living in Virginia.” Salmeron Santos admitted that she hired the smugglers for $8,500 and paid them $6,000 in advance. 

“The criminal conspiracy instigated by Salmeron Santos was temporarily interrupted when Nava-Martinez was arrested,” wrote Hanen. “Despite this setback, the goal of the conspiracy was successfully completed thanks to the actions of the United States Government.”

Hanen wrote that his court is “quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States.”

Specifically, Hanen said, Customs and Border Protection agents stopped Nava-Martinez at the border. “She was arrested, and the child was taken into custody.”

The DHS officials were notified that Salmeron Santos instigated this illegal conduct. Yet, instead of arresting Salmeron Santos for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivered the child to her–thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy. It did not arrest her. It did not prosecute her. It did not even initiate deportation proceedings for her. This DHS policy is a dangerous course of action.

“The DHS, instead of enforcing our border security laws, actually assisted the criminal conspiracy in achieving its illegal goals,” Hanen wrote. 

The Government’s actions were not done in connection with a sting operation or a controlled delivery situation. Rather, the actions it took were directly in furtherance of Y.P.S.’s illegal presence in the United States. It completed the mission of the conspiracy initiated by Salmeron Santos. In summary, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, the Government took direct steps to help the individuals who violated it. A private citizen would, and should, be prosecuted for this conduct.

This case is hardly an isolated incident. In fact, a pattern seems to be emerging with regard the DHS’s efforts to help human smugglers. “This is the fourth case with the same factual situation this Court has had in as many weeks,” Hanen wrote.

In all of the cases, human traffickers who smuggled minor children were apprehended short of delivering the children to their ultimate destination. In all cases, a parent, if not both parents, of the children was in this country illegally. That parent initiated the conspiracy to smuggle the minors into the country illegally. He or she also funded the conspiracy. In each case, the DHS completed the criminal conspiracy, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, by delivering the minors to the custody of the parent illegally living in the United States.”

In addition to the danger the DHS’s behavior presents in these instances, Hanen noted that the United States taxpayers have incurred costly expenses for the DHS to personally deliver illegal alien children to various locations around the country.

“In all cases when the Government apprehended some of the traffickers, the Government transported the children across the country to unite them with a parent (or parents) who was in the country illegally,” Hanen wrote. “In one situation,” he added, “the Government flew a child to multiple locations in different parts of the United States.” He explained that “the taxpayers of the United States suffer the expense of delivering these minors,” which is not only “the cost of paying travel, room and board for the children, but it may also, according to the information supplied to this Court in yet another case, include the salary and travel expenses of a guardian to accompany them.”

Hanen argued that the reasoning the administration is likely employing here, that children should be reunited with their parents, is “absurd and illogical.” He argued, “The DHS could reunite the parent and child by apprehending the parent who has committed not one, but at least two different crimes. It would be more efficient for the Government to arrest the individuals who are not only in the country illegally, but while in the country illegally are also fostering illegal conspiracies.” 

“It would also be much cheaper to apprehend those coconspirators and reunite them at the children’s location,” he added. “Yet, it neither prosecutes nor sports the wrongdoer.”

By engaging in such activity, Hanen said the Obama administration is “rewarding criminal conduct instead of enforcing the current laws.”

However, what is even “more troubling,” Hanen wrote, is that the administration is actually “encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children” by attempting to have them smuggled into the United States illegally. “While Y.P.S. was transported in a car, others are made to swim the Rio Grande River or other bodies of water in remote areas.”

This concern for the safety of these individuals is not fanciful or theoretical; it is a real and immediate concern. As this Court waited for the judgment to be prepared before it released this opinion, two illegal aliens drowned, two more are missing, and a three-year-old El Salvadorean toddler was found abandoned by smugglers–each event occurring just outside of Brownsville.”

Hanen pointed out that “these illegal activities help fund the illegal drug cartels which are a very real danger for both citizens of this country and Mexico.”

There is no doubt that the drug cartels control the “smuggling process,” Hanen added, citing that representatives of the Obama administration and of various attorneys for numerous defendants have testified in his courtroom that the “cartels control the entire smuggling process.” The DHS’s involvement in helping smuggle children into the country puts those children at risk, Hanen argued.


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