Big Bucks For Human Smugglers
JULY 25, 2006
Increased security at the U.S.-Mexican border has fueled the multi billion-dollar human smuggling business and has created a culture of fraud and corruption in various private and public sectors, including federal and state government offices.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimated that, last year alone, one million illegal immigrants came through Arizona and many of them paid so-called coyotes, or human smugglers, thousands of dollars to get them there. The human smugglers are mostly young Mexican men with criminal histories who are despised as pariahs by immigrant rights groups and U.S. officials alike.
They operate a $2 billion-a-year, black market business that, not only propels illegal immigration, but also spreads violence and corruption in the U.S. Authorities have documented cases of Department of Motor Vehicle workers supplying fraudulent identification cards to illegal aliens in exchange for cash, businesses that launder money for these illegal operations, money-transfer clerks that are paid to violate financial disclosure laws and U.S. Border Patrol officers who accept bribes to look the other way.
The human smuggling problem is so serious and widespread that a special Congressional report on Mexico-US relations, prepared by a U.S. Government Latin American Affairs official, mentions it along with drug trafficking, saying that smugglers have an arms race with Border Patrol.
A big part of the problem is that federal government officials are not cracking down by prosecuting the smugglers. In fact, according to Debbie Schlussel the feds are upset with the people of Arizona for stomping on their ground in creating a human smuggling law that allows the state to prosecute the so-called coyotes.
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