President Trump has consistently pushed policies that make life significantly more difficult for immigrants and their families. Yet, there are some groups who appear to have benefited directly from the administration’s immigration policies: smugglers and criminal gangs in Mexico.
On February 4th, 2019, USA Today published a story on the impacts that the Trump Administration’s new asylum policies are having in Mexico and Central America. While desperate migrants struggle to deal with the fallout, criminal groups have found an opportunity for increased profits.
Smugglers, Human Traffickers are Raising their Prices
As the administration intensifies its enforcement at the border, criminal gangs and smugglers have responded by increasing their prices. In some cases, smugglers are charging migrants more than five times the price that was being charged just two years ago. These groups are more than happy to take advantage of the American policy failure for their own profit. The report draws the conclusion that the Trump Administration’s efforts to make it more difficult for migrants to claim asylum have resulted in more people foregoing the process entirely, attempting to escape desperate and dangerous circumstances through the help of smugglers.
In Nogales, Mexico — a city that is located directly south of the Arizona border — it can take as long as three weeks for an asylum-seeker to even get an initial meeting with a U.S. immigration officer. From there, migrants may be forced to wait in Mexico for many months before they see any real movement on their case. Not only are smugglers attempting to take advantage of these migrants, but there are serious questions about the overall conditions in Mexico. In December, two teenage migrants from Central America were murdered at the Mexican border while waiting for the U.S. government to take action.
Migrants Have the Right to Apply for Asylum
One of the most dangerous and pervasive myths about asylum is that migrants are doing something ‘wrong’ by arriving at the U.S. border and asking for safe harbor. This could not be further from the truth. Under international law and United States law, migrants have the right to claim asylum. As a country, we have a moral obligation to create a fair and safe process for desperate asylum seekers.
When we fail to do that — as has been the case under President Trump — the consequences can be devastating. As the USA Today report demonstrates, criminal groups are standing by, ready to take advantage of the American policy failure. We need an immigration policy that serves the best interests of migrants, not the best interests of smugglers and human traffickers.
We Fight For Immigrant Rights in Southern California
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we have deep experience handling all types of immigration law matters, including asylum claims. For a strictly private consultation with an immigration law specialist, please contact our law office. We serve communities throughout Southern California.