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The Effects of U.S. Anti-Human Smuggling Actions In Central America on Immigration

For several years, the number of irregular migrants entering or seeking asylum in the United States has consistently increased. That reflects the economic conditions of the sending countries as well as American immigration and border control laws. According to a study, Central America (the Northern Triangle) is one of the top places where thousands of illegal migrants cross the U.S. southwestern border.

Since irregular migration from the Northern Triangle countries directly impacts the American economy, the U.S. government has consistently engaged with the region to address the cause of irregular migration from Central America. That contributed to the increased arrests of smugglers in Central America.

The interference of the U.S. has caused a significant fall in the number of migrants crossing the U.S. border. For instance, since an all-time high in May, the number of unregistered migrants arrested at the southern border of the United States has decreased by almost 14 percent.

Information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveals that agents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Central American nations arrested an average of 240 smugglers in just a week in June. These agents are responsible for providing intelligence to local law enforcement on the smugglers to target for arrest.

Since April, the DHS has committed more than $50 million to the initiative, and in June, U.S. agents arrested more smugglers in Central American countries. Consequently, the number of irregular migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border began to fall from about 7,800 daily arrests in May. The figure dropped by 14 percent by the end of June and has since remained relatively stagnant.

Seasonal traveling patterns are also responsible for the decline. Less migration typically occurs during the sweltering summer months. While border crossings in the first few months of 2022 reached record highs, they declined in July compared to the same month in 2021.

According to DHS, about 24 migrants were either stopped or delayed from crossing the border before the U.S. agents could catch a smuggler. In the end, they had to stop about 1,329 migrants per day during the smuggler arrests. Furthermore, the DHS briefing states that ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents made about 74 arrests outside the United States, while CBP agents apprehended 166 smugglers during the last week of June.

Additionally, the agents assisted in the discovery of trailers conveying migrants and hideouts in Central America. Experts and organizations promoting progressive immigration policies have lauded these achievements. However, some professionals have suggested that the Biden administration should center their focus on providing safe, legal pathways for asylum seekers.

To further clarify the position of the United States government, DHS says that one of its top priorities is to further strengthen security partnerships across South America. “Despite the fluctuations, we will keep bolstering our border security, helping our allies, and waging a fierce war against international crime and people trafficking,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, the DHS Secretary.

Based on the result, the Biden administration boasts about its increased collaboration and partnership with the governments and agencies in Central and South America and Mexico. The administration has convened 20 world leaders for the first time to join in taking historic action to dismantle the criminal smuggling networks that profit from migrant trafficking.

“These efforts, which have only been going on for the past few weeks, have led to 706 smuggler arrests and helped keep 1,900 migrants per day from falling victim to dangerous smugglers” says attorney Zaira Solano of  Solano Law Firm LLC.

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