Travel agencies based in Senegal are popping up and offering “complete packages” to take migrants to the U.S. southern border.
An official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection told The New York Post this week that these “pseudo-legitimate” companies are based out of Dakar, the capital of Senegal. They’re offering trips that don’t require a visa that first stop in Europe and then head off to Mexico.
After the migrants are in North America, they’re then connected to various smuggling organizations, which help them get across the border illegally.
As one CBP official told the Post:
“They sell complete packages to connect them to a smuggling organization that will then facilitate their movement up to the border.”
In response, CBP is “working with partners throughout the hemisphere and around the world to really make sure that we are bolstering people’s access to protections in the right ways and taking action to prevent people from trying to exploit different travel mechanisms,” the official said.
Every day, these organizations send bus loads of migrants to the southern border, originating from Mexico’s Sonora state. These operations “facilitate migration” by dropping the passengers off at random spots on the border.
This is something that Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of the CBP, pointed out in a statement last week. He said:
“These smugglers are recklessly putting migrants into harm’s way: in remote locations across the border, onto the tops of trains, or into the waters of the Rio Grande.
“We continue to go after the smugglers and are implementing new measures to impose consequences on transportation companies including bus and van lines used by smuggling organizations and nefarious actors to move migrants through northern Mexico and to our southwest border.”
To do so, though, Miller said that CBP and its other federal partners would need more funding given to them by Congress, “so that we can continue to effectuate consequences for those who do not use the established pathways.”
According to data from CBP, migrants coming from India, China, Mauritania and Senegal rose to 214,000 in the fiscal year 2023. That was triple the number of encounters CBP agents had with migrants coming from Africa and Asia last fiscal year – a huge increase of 70,000.
In November alone, CBP agents had 242,418 total encounters with migrants at the U.S. southern border, which set a new record that was broken just one month prior – with 240,986 encounters in October.
Republicans have chastised the Biden administration for its lax approach to border security. Florida Representative Laurel Lee, for instance, said the White House is using agents at Border Patrol as if they were “travel agents” instead of having them stop migrants from entering the country.
She said to Fox News recently:
“We have brave men and women of Border Patrol who are down there, ready, willing and able who want to enforce our laws, who want to fight for our country, and instead … they’re being assigned tasks like passing out blankets and working as travel agents to just bring people into this country.”