The Biden administration announced Operation Sentinel to disrupt transnational criminal organizations and human smugglers through targeted economic sanctions and involvement from partner countries.
Two Ecuadorian girls (aged 2 and 5) were dropped over the top of a 14-foot section of the border wall by a smuggler on March 30th. The children were taken to a CBP facility and then to a local hospital.
Restrictions of movement across the US- Mexico border have not significantly reduced drug trafficking, according to law enforcement officials from both countries. The restrictions caused a slight drop in drug flows at the beginning of the pandemic, but traffickers have since adjusted and flows have returned to normal levels.
Border Patrol agents seized a drone carrying 1 pound of methamphetamine that crashed onto a roof in San Diego. Drone smuggling has increased in recent years as the technology becomes cheaper and more accessible.
- CBP posts a notice requesting that federal contractors suggest new anti-breaching and anti-climbing technology and tools by June 12 to make the border wall less vulnerable. Despite this, CBP states that the request “does not amount to an admission that the current design is inadequate or flawed.” CBP also invites proposals for “private party construction” that would allow investors to acquire land, build a barrier on it, and sell the project to the government.
- After stopping the fourth attempt to smuggle people into the U.S. by tractor-trailer in the last four months, El Centro Sector CBP agents warn the public of the strategy’s rising trend. This fourth attempt resulted in the apprehension of 42 migrants near Calexico, California.
- CBP reports that a traffic stop performed by the Laredo North Border Patrol in Texas resulted in the apprehension of 28 individuals smuggled in a tractor-trailer. The individuals were from Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador.
- Two pickup trucks disguised to look like vehicles associated with border construction are stopped by Border Patrol agents in Arizona. CBP finds 16 people in one truck and 4 in the other. The 20 migrants had paid $1,000 each to be smuggled to Tucson.
- Smugglers in Juárez use camouflaged, rebar hook-and-ladders called castillo to bypass the border wall. CBP reports that the ladders are difficult to detect after spending this week dismantling those found in the El Paso sector. Six meters of castillo costs approximately $5 and is sold in hardware stores. CBP reports the most likely users of ladders are single adults.
- Executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights Fernando Garcia voices concerns about CBP’s de-escalation skills and use of force after a video of a man’s apprehension goes viral. The video shows Border Patrol agents using a stun gun and additional force on a non-compliant man suspected of migrant smuggling. According to the ACLU, generally, immigration officers cannot detain someone without “reasonable suspicion.”
- While monthly border apprehensions continue to drop, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan announces that the number of Mexican adults taken into custody has climbed by 32% from this time last year. Morgan suggests the shift is due to smugglers “scrambling to come up with new tactics.” In January 2019, 61% of migrants U.S. officials encountered were from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Morgan announces that in January 2020, 61% were from Mexico.