One reason migrants are arriving in large groups is that the migrants are traveling with human traffickers. This prompted DHS to fund a study from the Rand Corporation into the process used by these smugglers.
The Rand Corporation found that smugglers range from individuals to large transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), like the cartel. While the smugglers are predominately small operations, the report notes that large TCOs have “taxes” they levy on the migrants to allow them to safely travel through cartel-controlled territories. The report estimates that TCOs make as much as $30 million to $180 million off these “taxes” on migrants passing through their territory.
While most of the smuggling operations are small, that doesn’t mean they aren’t making big money.
The report found that human traffickers brought in anywhere from $200 million to $2.3 billion in 2017 alone. That number could be much higher in recent years, as record-breaking flows of migrants continue to pour into the United States. – READ MORE