McALLEN, Texas (Border report) – The Biden government on Tuesday announced a major, interagency operation to cut off supplies, resources and travel skills by transnational criminal organizations that smuggle thousands of migrants across the US southwest border every day, particularly into rural areas in southern Texas.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Operation Sentinel is a collaboration between DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs, the Department of Justice – including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency – and the U.S. Department of State, to tackle Cross-Border Criminal Organizations (TCO) and cartels specializing in human trafficking that fuel the recent surge in the flow of migrants from Mexico across the border.

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“These criminal organizations put profit over human life. They routinely hunt down migrants and steal huge sums of money from them in exchange for huge promises to bring them to the United States. We will take full advantage of the data analysis capacity, capacity and domestic overseas partnerships of our agencies, ”Mayorkas said on a call to the media.

“We will identify the smugglers and their employees and take a number of targeted measures and sanctions against them. We will take a broad and strong approach. It will include any authority in our arsenal, ”he said.

Home Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is seen during an online briefing at the White House on March 1, 2021. On April 27, he announced a full-scale multi-agency operation aimed at drug cartels transporting migrants across the border. (Screenshot)

This includes: freezing their assets and bank accounts; Revoke travel visas and suspend their trading skills within the United States, he said.

“The goal is to disrupt every facet of the logistical network of these criminal networks,” Mayorkas said.

CBP’s acting commissioner Troy Miller said antitrust agents have shown no consideration for the health or well-being of those they carry or the border communities where migrants are often abandoned, destitute or sick during this ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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So far, CBP officials have rescued 4,766 migrants this fiscal year, which is close to the 5,232 rescued in all of fiscal 2020, Miller said. This includes lost migrant children who said they were abandoned by smugglers when they couldn’t keep up in the desert of west Texas and New Mexico, and the stout bristle of south Texas.

Video: 10-year-old boy abandoned at the border by migrants found by a patrolman

“Smuggling operations continue to lie and exploit vulnerable populations to fuel their criminal enterprise. The health and safety of migrants does not affect their lucrative ambitions,” Miller said.

This Guatemalan migrant is assisted by a border guard on March 26, 2021 after being lost for five days in the Brooks County bush of south Texas. (Border report photo / Sandra Sanchez)

In fiscal 2020, U.S. border guards tracked down the remains of at least 250 migrants who died trying to enter the U.S. illegally, Miller said. Most of these remains have been found in southern Texas, where the triple-digit temperatures combined with rattlesnakes and dense terrain can result in migrants spending days walking just a few miles.

Operation Sentinel will involve working with other countries such as Mexico and the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where most of the migrants flee north from their home countries.

Harris meets virtually with the Guatemalan President to discuss the “causes” and “acute” causes of migration

“With the help of our federal and overseas partners, CBP aims to limit access to the profits of TCO by denying these criminals the opportunity to travel, trade and finance here in the US,” said incumbent ICE director Tae Johnson. “Leveraging the data, analytical capabilities and capacity of the domestic and foreign authorities, Operation Sentinel will map TCO’s networks, target its members, employees and assets, and take a range of targeted measures and sanctions against them.”

“With the help of our domestic and international partners, CBP aims to limit access to TCO profits by denying these criminals the opportunity to travel, trade and finance here in the US.”

Deputy ICE Director Tae Johnson

Mayorkas said the operation should show net results in the coming months.

It is well known that criminal cartels control how, when and where migrants cross the Rio Grande, especially in South Texas. Colored bracelets are issued by smugglers to group, sort, and categorize which rafts and where the migrants will cross. Purple bracelets mean they have tried twice already. If they are unsuccessful on the third try, they are not allowed to cross again unless they pay more money.

Migrants will be interviewed by a border guard in La Joya, Texas on April 8, 2021 after entering the United States illegally. The woman on the left has a red bracelet. Cartels hand out different colored bracelets to group and sort migrants as they cross the river from Mexico. Most are allowed to cross three attempts. Purple ribbons mean they have run out of tries. (Border report photo / Sandra Sanchez)

Migrants pay smugglers between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000 per person to cross, and most entering South Texas are now carrying very young babies that the Biden government is allowing in as family units since the Mexican government of Tamaulipas immigrant children under the age of seven are refused to take them back.

Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children also cross, led by leaders. The U.S. Department of Health reported Monday that an additional 399 additional children were taken into CBP custody on Sunday, excluding Mexican children seeking asylum in the U.S. This brings the total number of children in HHS care to almost 22,000.

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