In a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, a former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent said drug smuggling and human trafficking networks have effective intelligence gathering systems that are much better than the systems by the U.S. government.
A.J. Irwin, the former ICE agent presented recent stats from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that show a major spike in illegal immigrants claiming asylum at the U.S. border since 2009.
Irwin points out some of these illegal immigrants are smugglers exploiting the law.
â€œSo when thereâ€™s a process like asylum, where thereâ€™s some kind of policy that happens here that affects detention or your ability to get parole or whatever here in the United States, it travels in… their criminal organizationâ€™s intelligence network,â€ said Irwin. â€œSmuggling organizations, whether it be narcotics or people, they have a very effective intelligence gathering system. And I say this, I get criticized a lot, itâ€™s much more effective than what we have in the U.S. government because they will share the information amongst organizations and then they move people for each other and share the profits.â€
Irwin also pointed out that Mexico is like a â€œspringboardâ€ to the U.S. To get an idea of how this networks work, Irwin and his team started to investigate in South America.
â€œWe went down to South America and targeted an organization that was operating there. Smugglers like to operate far away from the United States because they believe that theyâ€™ll never be arrested even if they are charged and indicted with some crime, that theyâ€™ll never actually be brought to the United States and brought to justice,â€ said Irwin.
Apparently in the last year, the number of asylum applications filed has spiked. The number of these documents at U.S. land borders and ports of entry is 10 times higher than it was in 2009, according to the reportâ€“ Border Asylum Claims Up Tenfold Since 2009 by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that was presented at the panel discussion.
The majority of asylum seekers are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This has to do with the fact that the federal government isnâ€™t enforcing its immigration laws.
â€œThis is not a random or spontaneous phenomenon at all. It is an organized process that is happening, facilitated in large part by criminal smuggling organizations and in particular, the policies that our government. That enables people who reach our borders to succeed in staying here for an indefinite period of time under the guise of seeking asylum,â€ said Jessica Vaughan, author of the report and director of policy studies at CIS. “Our policies actually give the smuggling organizations a product to sell. The strong likelihood is if someone takes that long journey, through whatever route, and makes it to the U.S. border, then itâ€™s very likely that theyâ€™re going to succeed staying in the United States.â€
Often after these aliens arrive claiming they need asylum, they are not detained like they should be. Instead, they are released.
â€œOne of the first of many executive actions on immigration taken by the Obama administration was to institute a policy stipulating that, despite the law, newly arrived aliens whose credible fear claims were approved should be released on a grant of parole, even before the full review of their asylum applications,â€ according to the CIS report.