Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officials fear the growing number of migrants amassing along the United States border in Tijuana, Mexico will try to rush the U.S. port of entry as the situation has been exacerbated in recent days by the increased conflict between the migrants and locals, former and current U.S. law enforcement officials said.
The concern is two-fold, said law enforcement officials, who noted that the decision Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of San Francisco to temporarily block the Trump administration from denying asylum to migrants who crossed the southern border illegally is prolonging an already broken immigration system. Tigar said the president violated a “clear command” from Congress to allow them to apply, but U.S. Custom’s and Border Protection agents say it will only make the situation worse.
“It’s bad, we are still getting tons of family units being allowed in and immediately getting cut loose after a quick processing. They, too, will disappear after they’re released,” said a U.S. law enforcement official working along the border, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak. “So pretty much just show up with a child, and claim and get cut loose–regardless of previous immigration history or criminal history. (The) only thing that stops a person with a child is aggravated criminal felony.”
President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon, “it’s a disgrace what happened in the 9th Circuit, we’ll win this case in the Supreme Court.”
Over recent days, hundreds of Tijuana residents gathered to protest the roughly 4,000 migrants, mainly from Central American countries. The increased tensions have raised concerns among U.S. law enforcement officials that the migrants may try to rush the border, like they did when they crossed the Guatemala and Mexican border. The Tijuana demonstrators shouted at the migrants, “No illegals” and “No to the invasion.”
The numbers of migrants are expected to increase to 10,000 plus in the upcoming weeks, according to Mexican authorities who are monitoring the groups heading to the city and other ports of entry along the U.S. Mexico border. The strain on local services in Tijuana has already caused a backlash from residents in the border community and the drug cartels that utilize those corridors “are not only trying to infiltrate the caravans, kidnap some migrants, but are also taking advantage of the strained resources on U.S. law enforcement,” according to officials.
The increased 5,900 U.S. troops over the past month created a semi-stop gap measure along the porous border forcing cartels to circumvent their contraband to other areas.
On Monday, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who oversees the mission, told Politico some troops may be heading home this week and that all will be back to their regular duty assignments by Christmas. However, by Tuesday, U.S. Army North, which Buchanan commands, issued a statement saying, “we may shift some forces to other areas of the border to engineering support missions in California and other areas. No specific timeline for redeployment has been determined.”
“The Mexican Cartels have a business to run and their goal is to make tons of money,” said Derek Maltz, a former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DOJ, DEA, and Special Operations Division (SOD). “The thought of the greatest military in the world hanging out on the border will definitely cause them to adapt and utilize all routes available to keep the profits rolling and the customers supplied. They have already started moving huge quantities of drugs through the Caribbean corridor which has been used successfully for decades.”
Maltz noted that as the U.S. increased it’s military presence along the southern border with Mexico this month and forced the narco-traffickers to reroute the a large amount of its drug supplies through high trafficking routes along the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida and other states presenting new obstacles for law enforcement battling the cartels.
He’s not the only one concerned. Former Acting Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement Director Tom Homan said his former agency is overburdened. Homan noted that ICE budgeted for “51,000 beds last budget cycle and only got 40,000.”
“ICE is pretty much full, their beds are full,” said Homan. “ICE is over-burdened right now. All these military guys are on the border taking care of logistical duties, but the military can help with its presence by increasing eyes and ears on the border. These caravans are actually hitting the cartel pocket books. It’s hurting their business. We’ve seen instances where the cartels are turning on the migrants. The smugglers and those being trafficked have pay the cartel to operate in their plazas. No one operates on the U.S. Mexican border without paying off the cartels.”
The decades long drug war, coupled by the recent wave of migrant caravans “are creating a dangerous national security situation for our country, as well as law enforcement,” said a Border Patrol official in California, who works along the San Diego corridor. The Border Patrol agent, like numerous others interviewed by this news agency, suggested that any rush of migrants to breach the U.S. Port of Entry, could lead to a situation that puts both the migrants lives in danger as well as law enforcement.
The agent stressed, “you can’t deal with the migrant situation separate from the raging narco-state across the southern border. It’s all connected, no matter how you cut it.”
Another Border Patrol official, who also spoke on background as they did not have permission to speak to the press told this news site, “the migrants are causing serious problems problems in Tijuana and it’s believed that they are going to try and swarm past the port of entry in mass. You can see it brewing south of the line.”
The drug traffickers are also taking advantage of current crisis using watchers (known as ventanas, windows) to find porous areas they can breech, while U.S. and Border Patrol officials are focused mainly on the migrants attempting to enter the country, according to law enforcement.
But the one obstacle in the narco’s way right now is the presence of military officials along their trafficking routes in the U.S.
“The DOD and CBP combined are a force multiplier on the border,” Maltz said. “This will cause some disarray for the cartel border operatives. The sophisticated cartels study the techniques and measures put in place by the United States daily and will develop alternative routes to get their poison into our country.”
Maltz noted “we’ve already seen a shift of millions of dollars of kilos of cocaine and heroin – diverting cocaine and heroin through the Caribbean – larger seizures have already been confiscated coming through the Bahamas, Puerto Rico — they know the southwest border has the larger presence.”
The cartels are using semi-submersible, gulf fast boats, private aircraft and drones to move their contraband and narcotics “into the islands, South Florida, Louisiana and Texas.”
“These guys understand when the U.S. is pushing along the southwest border they need to keep their enterprise running,” Maltz added.
“The drug cartels are poisoning our kids, our nation and present a real national security risk to our country. This is a war and our law enforcement can not be crippled. It’s going to take everyone to find solutions,” he said.