The United States launches an “unprecedented” operation against human trafficking

Los Angeles (CNN) – The Joe Biden administration has launched an “unprecedented” operation to disrupt human smuggling networks amid the continued flow of migrants across the US-Mexico border, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas told CNN exclusively.

The operation, which includes deploying hundreds of people across Latin America and investing millions of dollars, comes as the United States continues to deal with a large influx of migrants towards the border with Mexico, including a caravan of up to 5,000 people the week they travel North from southern Mexico.

“We’ve taken full government efforts to target smuggling organizations. It’s not just about Homeland Security investigations, it’s not just about US Customs and Border Protection. But we work very carefully with the FBI, the number of agencies within the Department of Justice, and of course our partners in Mexico.”

Alejandro Mallorcas, United States Secretary of Homeland Security.

“I think it’s about scale and scope; it’s tactics and strategy. It’s really unprecedented,” he added.

Mallorcas attends the Ninth Summit of the Americas, hosted by the United States in Los Angeles. A meeting of nearly two dozen heads of state from the Western Hemisphere focused on stability and investment in the region in part to stem the flow of immigration, a problem that has dogged American presidents, including Joe Biden, for years.

Mass migration within the hemisphere is back in the spotlight this week, as thousands of migrants join a caravan bound for the southern border of the United States. In response to a question about how the latest operation was applied to that convoy, Mallorcas asserted that the administration “attacks the smuggling organizations that take advantage of these people.”

The so-called “Operation Sting” (which can be translated in Spanish as Operation Sting), led by the Department of Homeland Security, has so far resulted in about 20,000 “sabotage operations” that include arrests, trials, property confiscations and criminal investigations. by section. The United States has also increased its number of employees by more than 1,300 across the Western Hemisphere and has invested more than $50 million.

The Department of Homeland Security said that in the past eight weeks, nearly 2,000 smugglers have been arrested, representing a 600% increase in law enforcement action against these actors compared to efforts in previous years.

The latest operation builds on previous initiatives by the Biden administration to go after smugglers, who often rely on migrants on their way to the US-Mexico border. Last spring, the Department of Homeland Security also announced an effort to crack down on smuggled criminal organizations, along with federal partners.

The Department of Homeland Security also created a new law enforcement and intelligence-gathering unit to monitor the movement of immigrants and helped form a task force, led by the Department of Justice, to investigate and prosecute human trafficking and human trafficking networks.

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Migration looms over the top of the Americas

On the southern border of the United States, a new trend has emerged that has challenged the Biden administration: About 40% of those crossing the border are now from countries outside of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Savior.

More than 6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants have fled their country, according to the Department of Homeland Security. As Nicaraguans are migrating more and more, so are Haitians who moved to the area years ago.

Over the course of the Summit of the Americas, administration officials acknowledged mass migration in the Western Hemisphere, emphasizing the need for all countries to help facilitate the flow and create better conditions locally.

The meeting served as a platform for the Biden administration, regional leaders, and the public and private sectors to reach agreements on how to move forward to stem the flow of irregular migration.

Biden set out to show a level of coherence in the politics of the two continents, but a boycott by the leaders of several countries, including Mexico and three countries in Central America, hampered the summit.

The leaders of those four countries refused to attend because Biden declined the invitation of the three autocratic leaders, and instead sent delegations at a lower level.

Mallorcas dismissed concerns about the absence of key leaders from the summit, telling CNN: “All countries are represented here. So, of course, the president of Mexico is not here, but I was fortunate to see the Mexican foreign minister, Minister Ebrard, with whom I worked closely during my trips to Mexico, And also with our ongoing dialogue. So no, my confidence is intact.”

Countries attending the Summit of the Americas on Friday are expected to sign the Immigration Declaration, which aims to outline how the region shares responsibility for welcoming immigrants.

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