Criminal organizations in Mexico have set up a lucrative new smuggling operation, which provides migrants from Guatemala with the help of express buses to families within days to the US border, making the trip, according to US law enforcement agencies and The US and Guatemalan authorities are getting faster, easier and safer.
The smugglers lure families with promises that their journey is usually free of dangers Associated with travel to the US border and the assurance that they will contact US authorities within days.
Priced at up to $ 7,000 per child per adult, families are brought to ranches and ranches and staging areas hotels in southern Mexico, where they are organized in bus groups and rush north along Mexican highways, "Stop only for food, fuel and toilet breaks. according to the US law enforcement documents.
The model appeals to families in particular, minimizing some of the intimidating and unappetizing aspects of traditional Mexican smuggling operations that are known to plunge migrants into poverty-stricken havens where Central Americans are regularly maltreated and extorted for extra payments. The bus system has overcome these dangers and released few reports of violence or ill-treatment, say US officials.
Within 72 hours of leaving the staging areas, the buses reach predetermined delivery points within walking distance of the US border. Migrant families are grouped into groups that have temporarily crossed over 300 adults and children, and they go directly across the border, sometimes exceeding the barriers in long, orderly lines. They then surrender to US border patrols and initiate asylum applications.
Hitherto unknown details of the smuggling system are listed in US law enforcement reports reviewed by US law enforcement agencies The Washington Post. The official who shared them did so on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal details of the operation. They represent an emerging, highly profitable business operation designed to exploit malfunctions in the US immigration system, and US court rulings requiring families to be released while their asylum claims are being processed.
The operation's success is the most extreme Yet another example of the ability of smugglers to benefit from the postponement of unauthorized migration to the United States, which is characterized by an increasing number of adults with children.
The direct bus method allows smugglers to eliminate the need for hiding places along the border. They would normally keep migrants under guard duty by armed guards before sneaking across the border. The express routes "minimize overhead and maximize capacity," according to the US documents, so smugglers can "keep operating costs to a minimum."
Since October, US border officials have hit at least 70 large groups of 100 or more migrants against 13 such groups in fiscal year 2018. Approximately 12,000 parents and children have arrived in the groups and are generating tens of millions of dollars in smuggling fees.
US. Officials call the system "The Conveyor Belt" and have asked the Mexican authorities to stop the system. However, the sponsorship pattern has continued for months and is part of a record-breaking increase in family transitions, which the White House has called a "border humanitarian and borderline security crisis". Last month, 40,325 arrived in family groups.
The arrests at the border reached a peak of 1.6 million in 2000 and declined. They dropped to 303,000 in 2017, the lowest point in half a century. But according to Homeland Security officials, they are on their way to hit nearly a million unauthorized cross-border workers in the current fiscal year, as the arrests have reached their highest levels in more than a decade.
The influx has left US border security behind US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters last week.
Migrants are reaching the border in many ways. A large number of Hondurans who form caravan groups, and other Central Americans who travel smaller clusters and in a more conventional way. McAleenan described the express buses to reporters last week and said the "shorter smuggling cycle" offered by the smugglers shortened the journey from several weeks to "four to seven days".
"The availability of these express buses." Routes mean more and more young children are arriving at our borders, and we see migrants arriving in unprecedented numbers with illnesses and health conditions, "he said.
Tailored to the new, booming aspect of unauthorized US migration – parents Bringing Children – The success of the new express bus system would not have been possible in earlier eras when the vast majority of migrants were single adults from Mexico whose goal was to avoid getting caught.
Instead, recruiters sell customers in Guatemala, with similar presentations on a travel agent's benign pitch, offers a range of price points for various passenger comfort, officials in the US and Guatemalan, who said on condition of anonymity, to share sensitive details about the operation of smuggling  Customers who pay less than $ 2,500 are usually in trucks or in Vi ehwaggons, while others who buy packages for $ 7,000 or more receive a premium bus service. Children are usually released because those arriving at the American border with a minor must be marginalized and not smuggled over.
The express journey is usually funded by relatives of migrants already working in the United States, or with microcredit loans that use homes and immovable property as collateral, in some cases with notarised documents that allow smuggling organizations unpaid To collect debts. In a particularly worrisome sign for US officials, the price of travel has fallen in recent months as smugglers can cut costs and increase volume through fast bus routes.
"Without change in US policy or other factors, such as rising smuggling fees, the Central Americans will arrive at an increasing pace," warns a report.
In most cases, migrants are afraid of being persecuted when they are overstepped when they are deported home, which is the first step in the search for US asylum. Some come with detailed reports of group threats, police violence and inactivity, as well as documents to substantiate their allegations.
But many other Guatemalans seem to be heading north to find jobs in a buzzing US economy where labor shortages prevail. In November, Guatemala became the leading source of unauthorized migration to the United States, surpassing Mexico for the first time.
A Guatemalan father who was reached by telephone in Houston, where he was reunited with his wife and two children last month, said he paid $ 5,500 to push all three family members to the border. He spent $ 8,000 a year ago when he traveled alone.
"They were on a nice bus with their own seats," said the father, describing his family's trip on the condition of anonymity because his wife now has a pending asylum application in the US.
A Guatemalan official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the express buses, said the United States, they rely on his government to tackle the smuggling pipeline. However, he said the government's policies are mainly based on social media messages – such as one with the hashtag # NoMigraciónIrregular -. However, these approaches are not credible, as are the personal testimony of friends, relatives and neighbors who have completed the journey safely and relatively easily.
Critics of the Trump administration stated that the US effort to limit the number of migrants to daily unofficial ports of entry asylum claims allowed the family compulsions to exceed the limits of remote desert areas
But the conveyor system The reports show that decisions are not made where the groups arrive. They are not hit by the migrants themselves, but by smugglers looking for the best places to quickly deliver a large number of their clients to US agents.
Leave the mass give-ups Migrants at official entry points skip lines, and they can expect processing on the US side of the border, where it is safer.
The pattern is so routine that US officials say some large groups form their own queues while presenting their documents to the agents as if waiting in the arrivals hall of an international airport.
If it's a kind of regular immigration process, in a single file, like checking in, "said a US official who spoke about the condition of anonymity to discuss the pattern. "It's incredible."
With the swelling arrest numbers, the demands for a border wall have increased. In recent weeks, however, large groups have crossed in areas near the center of El Paso, where high, modern steel barriers already exist. Wading through shallow sections of the Rio Grande, the migrants reach the bottom of the US and wait to be taken into custody on the narrow strip of no-man's between the river and the border fence.
The number of migrants detained in the border According to CBP statistics, Patrol's El Paso sector has increased 434 percent in the last five months.
Marta Sánchez Soler, sociologist and migrant rights activist in Mexico City, said the fast bus operators are part of a wider difference in the way that Central American groups reach the United States.
While Hondurans and Salvadorans join caravans and stay in church homes, Guatemalan families are "all affected by human trafficking," she said.
There are many Guatemalans living in shelters, "said Sánchez Soler.
Two Guatemalan children died in the El Paso sector of the CBP in December when they arrived with large groups, but their autopsy reports were not published, but first reviews suggest that the children may be suffering from the flu or other illness, and in response to the deaths, CBP has extended medical check-ups for all detained minors, and hospital transfers have nearly tripled in the past five months, the agency says The compromise on border security reached last month between President Trump and the Democrats of the Committee includes $ 415 million for improved care and treatment for migrants, as well as funding for the construction of a new processing center in El Paso to alleviate the dangerous overcrowding Ablate cells there
Last week, agents in El Paso picked up 700 migrants, including 252 and 112. Among them was an unaccompanied 2-year-old man.
Prevention of Dangers
The lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas has long been the main access point for Central American migrants to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. But the belligerent factions of the Gulf Cartel and the Los Zetas Criminal Union have given the area a fearsome reputation for kidnapping, rape, and ill-treatment, which is one reason why the caravans are strikingly avoiding these areas, despite being closer to the US border.
Gunmen Last week, a bus stopped by Tamaulipas and kidnapped 19 migrants and loaded them into pickup trucks, the Mexican authorities said. Another 25 migrants were missing after a similar incident in late February.
These incidents seem to be one of the reasons why express bus operators are moving away from this part of northern Mexico, opting for longer routes into the El Paso area and further west to New Mexico and Arizona.
US officials say they have given Mexican authorities specific information about the location of ranches and connections in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, as well as the names of people who seem to coordinate the buses.
A staging site United States law enforcement officials have identified a plot of land surrounded by a seven-meter-long concrete wall near the center of Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas, where a fleet of gray buses simultaneously weighs up to 150 migrants, documents indicate. A truck loaded with Guatemalan migrants crashed last week along a highway near the city. Twenty-five people were killed and more than 30 injured.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December, on the other hand, sought to use the immigration policy of his predecessor to be more friendly to the Central American migrants. Leiser has worked with his government on an experimental US policy to keep the Central Americans in Mexico waiting for their US asylum cases to be settled.
I Migration Enforcement on the border between Guatemala and Mexico remains low, and the documents of Central American driving on Mexican highways are reported by the US not systematically tested.
"Buses are routinely investigated for contraband by Mexican authorities, but authorities do not conduct immigration checks," the document says.
Mexico is seeking more information on bus routes and operators, a senior government official said Speaking of the condition of anonymity, they describe what has become a new source of tension with the Trump administration.
"If they transmitted the information, they were doing it the wrong way," the official said.
Mexican Minister of the Interior Olga Sánchez Cordero, the country's chief immigration officer, met with homeland security minister Kirstjen Nielsen in Washington last week to discuss rising marginal numbers.
Sánchez Cordero told The Post that her government wants a more intimate relationship between them the secret services and the US to aggress traffickers attacking, and affirms that Mexico has "already several" smugglers without further details detained.
"We have only been in office for three months," she said. "We want a really close cooperation with the United States."