Saturday, February 09, 2019

Cartels using mini-migrant caravans to sneak drugs into U.S.: Border official

Illegal immigration ticked down at the border in January, but officials said Friday the trends are still worrisome, with the number of families trying to sneak into the U.S. still near all-time highs. They’re increasingly coming in massive groups, which the cartels use to overwhelm Border Patrol agents — then send a shipment of drugs across the border in a nearby location, confident that the agents are occupied feeding or performing medical checks on the illegal immigrants and won’t be able to respond. “They’re using these large groups to facilitate the crossing of narcotics because they know they’ve tied up a large percentage of our manpower,” one Customs and Border Protection official said, briefing reporters on the latest numbers and tactics. On any day, about 150 Border Patrol agents are pulled out of the field and have to do “hospital watch,” staying with hundreds of illegal immigrants who were so sick when they arrived that they needed immediate medical attention, officials said. The latest large group was nabbed near Ajo, Arizona, on Thursday. Through the first four months of fiscal year 19, Homeland Security has seen 60 large groups — defined as at least 100 migrants. In 2018, the number was just 13. And in 2017 it was just one. The groups amount to mini-caravans, security experts say, and are being bussed to remote areas where there they can overwhelm the Border Patrol. “The amount of family units we’re seeing now is flooding the system,” an official said...MORE

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