DHS says anti-smuggler efforts stop 900 illegal immigrants a day

Homeland Security said Friday that stepped-up efforts to target the cartels that control migrant smuggling at the U.S.-Mexico border are paying off, with as many as 900 people a day derailed from their plans to cross.

Slammed by record border chaos, the department in recent months has announced operations to disrupt cartels’ finances and to increase investigations and prosecutions of smugglers.

The result is more than 30,000 “law enforcement actions” aimed at smuggling operations in Latin America, with some 2,000 smugglers arrested over eight weeks.

Smugglers have had to adapt, officials said.

“They changed the routes used to smuggle humans. They shifted stash house locations away from the border to avoid raids. They increased prices for smuggling and no longer guarantee passage at the border,” the department said.

“DHS estimates based on assessment of various factors that these disruption efforts are slowing, stopping, or reversing the flow of approximately 900 migrants each day,” the department said.

The announcement came in support of President Biden’s Summit of the Americas, a gathering in Los Angeles of leaders of Western Hemisphere nations. Many of those leaders are expected to sign on to an agreement committing to disrupting the massive flows of migrants throughout the region.

The 900 people a day Homeland Security says it’s deterring is a fraction of the total reaching the U.S., which regularly tops 7,000 a day.

Analysts say they are drawn by lax enforcement policies and loopholes that result in most unauthorized border crossers managing to enter and stay, at least in the near term, even if they are caught.

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