Former ICE Agent: Smugglers Have ‘More Effective’ Intel Network Than US Gov’t.

By Amy Furr | October 20, 2016 | 3:03pm EDT
(AP photo)

 

(CNSNews.com) -- Drug smugglers and human traffickers “have a very effective intelligence gathering system” that is “much more effective than what we have in the U.S. government,” former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent A. J. Irwin said Wednesday during a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington.

The discussion highlighted recent statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency showing a dramatic ten-fold increase in the number of illegal immigrants claiming asylum when they reach the U.S. border since 2009.

Irwin said that smugglers quickly find out about changes in U.S. law or policy and then move to exploit them.

“So when there’s a process like asylum, where there’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 organization’s intelligence network,” Irwin said.

“Smuggling organizations, whether it be narcotics or people, they have a very effective intelligence gathering system,” he continued. 

“And I say this, I get criticized a lot, it’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.”

“When people from other countries arrive in Mexico, it becomes a springboard into the United States,” Irwin explained.

“That’s why… we 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 they’ll never be arrested even if they are charged and indicted with some crime, that they’ll never actually be brought to the United States and brought to justice.”

“The number of people arriving at U.S. land borders and ports of entry to file asylum applications has soared dramatically in the last year, and is now about 10 times higher than it was in 2009,” according to an report entitled Border Asylum Claims Up Tenfold Since 2009 by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which sponsored the panel discussion.

A refugee seeking asylum must be unable or unwilling to return to his or her native country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution, according to USCIS.

The CIS report states that 80 percent of the aliens seeking asylum since 2014 are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“The security of our border goes way beyond our border. It doesn’t start there, it starts in Quito Ecuador; it starts in Nicaragua,” agreed former U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer Hipolito Acosta.

Acosta, who has been involved in a number of high-profile criminal investigations in the U.S. and Latin America, was one of four panelists who spoke about threats to the U.S. from smuggling organizations operating inside and outside the U.S.

“This is not a random or spontaneous phenomenon at all,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at CIS and author of the report, adding that the spike in asylum seekers is a direct result of the federal government’s refusal to enforce its own immigration laws.

“It is an organized process that is happening facilitated in large part by criminal smuggling organizations and in particular, the policies that our government has that enable people who reach our borders to succeed in being able to stay here for some indefinite period of time under the guise of seeking asylum,” she pointed out.

"Our policies actually give the smuggling organizations a product to sell," said Vaughan. “And that is of the strong likelihood that if someone takes that long journey, through whatever route, and makes it to the U.S. border, then it’s very likely that they’re going to succeed in their effort to stay in the United States.”

(Center for Immigration Studies)

According to the CIS report, “although the law provides for arriving asylum applicants to be detained while awaiting a full review of their case, in reality, most are released after their initial ‘credible fear’ claim is approved.

“One 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.”

CIS noted that since the complete reports for the “Credible Fear Workload Report Summary” could not be found on the USCIS website, the final year estimates are based on the agency’s 2015 fiscal year summary.

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