Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned Sunday that the illegal immigrant caravan heading toward the U.S. could be exploited by cartels that control most of the illegal flow of people through Latin America.
Ms. Nielsen also praised the efforts of Mexico and Central American governments she said are working with the U.S. to try to contain the caravan, rather than enable it.
While some among the once-5,000 member caravan have given up and returned to Honduras, local reports say about 2,000 people have barged into Mexico and vow to press on to the U.S., defying the will of the Mexican and American governments.
Warnings of a get-tough policy from U.S. officials have done little to deter the migrants, who for years have seen relatives and neighbors easily jump the border to enter the U.S. with little consequence. The ease of entering is a selling point for the cartels, who control the drug and human smuggling routes into the U.S. and require payment of a “mafia fee” just to cross the U.S.-Mexico boundary line.
Court records show that fee typically runs from $1,000 to $2,000. That doesn’t include thousands of dollars in other fees that cover foot guides, drivers, stash houses and the rest of the illegal journey.- READ MORE