Traffickers made as much as $14 million per day moving men, women, and children across the US-Mexico border in February. According to a Fox News report, smuggling people across the border has become a lucrative business.
“Trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry,” former Tucson Border Patrol Chief Roy Villareal told Fox News.
Many of these vulnerable people use their “life savings” to pay the traffickers to get them across the border, the recently retired patrol chief who spent 30 years with the agency said.
“Some are essentially indentured servants and they’re working off this debt for a long period of time. In other cases, some of these migrants are asked to transport narcotics or some form of crime to work off a different part of their debt,” he said.
Smugglers made $411.5 million in smuggling fee revenues in February alone by moving people from Mexico and Central American countries to the U.S. border, according to Customs and Border Patrol. That works out to $14.7 million per day on average.
The cost of the border crisis is currently increasing daily for the U.S. government. The cost to taxpayers has now surpassed $5 million per day. The figure is based on 2019 data from the Department of Health and Human Services, which estimates the daily “influx” shelter cost to be around $800 per illegal alien.
Additional costs will include overtime and hotel costs for the hundreds of agents reassigned to Texas from other areas. To put this in perspective, Congress appropriated an additional $4.6 billion in 2019 to deal with a similar migrant influx. And Congress gave then-President Obama an additional $2.7 billion in 2014 to address the border crisis.
Notably, the current U.S. administration appears to be doing nothing to discourage this kind of criminal behavior. They are, in fact, encouraging it. The Biden administration announced on Sunday, March 21, that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) will receive $86.9 million to house illegal aliens in hotels near the US-Mexico border.
The worker, their family, or an employer may pay a portion of the smuggling fees up front, but the majority is paid over time by the worker, their family, or an employer. The funds will be used to cover the costs of transportation, food, shelter, and a guide to help them cross the border. In some cases, the fees also cover transportation to a job site where the employee will be expected to stay for several years.
CBP officials forecast the following revenue for February. To account for recidivism, the numbers for single adults and Mexicans were adjusted.
Smuggling Fee Schedule
- Children/Family—$4,000 – $5,000
- Single Adult—$8,000 – $9,000
- Mexican—$5000 – $6,000
February Smuggling Revenues
- Central American Children—$34.1 million
- Central American Families—80.7 million
- Central American Single Adults—$139.5 million
February Total—$411.5 million
Daily Average—$14.6 million
(Source: CBP officials to Fox News)