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US border agents charge $3,000 to cross migrants

border agents have used their privileged position to allow the illegal entry of migrants from Mexico to United States. Internal agency documents show that at least two dozen agents have received cash for allowing free movement.

An investigation of MILLENNIUM based on reports from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reveals that in the last 3 and a half years, 26 agents have been arrested for the crime of “corruption”, this means that they used privileged information that allowed the trafficking of people to the United States.

According to court records, corrupt border agents charge between $500 and $3,000 for each migrant who crossed the border. One of the officials who received bribes claims to have set an even higher rate: $6,000 per undocumented person.

The tragedy of June 27, where 53 migrants died in the box of a trailer in Texas, once again put the border agents in the spotlight: and according to the commissioner of the National Migration Institute (INM)Francisco Garduño Yáñez, the vehicle passed through two immigration checkpoints.

“The trailer passed the immigration checkpoints of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the United States, where it was captured by security cameras at 2:50 p.m. on Monday in Encinal, Texas, 56 kilometers from the border and in Cotulla , Texas, 109 kilometers away,” he revealed.

However, the Border Patrol It carries a long history of cases where they allowed the smuggling of migrants from Mexico to the United States.

Revised CBP reports show that during 2019, 11 CBP agents were arrested. Border Protection Office, while during 2020 four were arrested. For 2021 there were nine and so far in 2022 there are already four cases.

CBP

Internal reports also indicate that until the last complete report published —which corresponds to fiscal year 2021— 8,989 complaints of misconduct against agents of the Customs Office, which includes the Border Patrol, had been received. In 2020 there were 9 thousand 269 and in 2019 the figure stood at 7 thousand 924.

In 2021 alone, 32 people were definitively removed from their posts, 30 are on probation, 14 have a “last chance”, 11 are on permanent suspension, and 485 were reprimanded for misconduct.

The warning

The agents of the Customs and Border Protection They monitor 3 thousand kilometers along the border with Mexico. The vast majority of them are assigned to one of the border states’ ports of entry and intermediate checkpoints.

This agency, where 64,000 employees work, of which 45,450 are border surveillance agents, is focused, according to its own description, on guaranteeing the safety of all Americans.

“We are continuously vigilant and alert to deter, detect and prevent threats to our nation,” they explain.

According to a transparency report, throughout 2021 they reviewed 491,688 passengers and pedestrians at the borders and registered 101,000 merchandise entries into the country. They also achieved 1,703 arrests at the border.

Despite the values ​​they presume, the agents of this instance of government have constantly been involved in different cases of police abuse, torture, inhuman treatment, and today also, immersed in corruption scandals.

CBP

Since 2017, John Roth, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, the dependency to which it responds CBPacknowledged in an appearance before Congress that there were already increases in the number of accusations of misconduct, after a rapid increase in hiring.

“We determined that proper workforce planning is needed to ensure correct staffing levels, ratios, locations and guide recruitment campaigns. To the contrary, inadequate workforce planning is likely to undermine the ability to meet mandates.

Five years after this declaration, there are more frequent accusations in federal courts for serious crimes committed by the agents, specifically related to complicity in the smuggling of migrants from Mexico to the United States.

CBP Agents. (Special)
Border Patrol Agents. Special)

migrants and smugglers

In the latest annual report for 2021, border authorities acknowledge that their agents were involved in nine serious and significant cases. Although they justify: “While the conduct described is deeply concerning, it was carried out by a small percentage of the CBP workforce.”

“These cases demonstrate CBP’s commitment to thoroughly investigate and bring to justice agency personnel who violate the public trust. These cases also highlight the effectiveness of CBP’s misconduct reporting systems and cooperation with other investigative agencies, as well as internal investigative capabilities.

Among the stories that stand out is the complaint received by the CPB’s internal investigation body and that ended in a surveillance operation against an agent outside his home.

They say that this is how they discovered that a woman periodically entered and left her house. She appeared to be performing cleaning and babysitting duties at the police officer’s residence. Border Patrol.

Later the investigation would show that the agent helped her domestic worker to enter the United States without documentation. And she did it using her position: when she played the shift change at one of the counters of one of the booths, she let her pass without inspection.

Another relevant case is that of agent Rodney Tolson Jr., 36, which also occurred last year. MILLENNIUM had access to the judicial file filed in the Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas revealing how the border agent operated.

The events occurred at the immigration checkpoint 29 miles north of the international crossing of Laredoon Interstate Highway 35. According to the indictment, it was between February and March 2019 that the agent allowed citizens without legal documentation to enter the United States.

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Through a cell phone, he coordinated the passage of migrants with human traffickers. This warned them from kilometers behind in which review line they would be placed during their shift, so that they would be placed there, in advance.

According to the authorities of the Texas Attorney’s Office, Rodney Tolson received a payment for each migrant who was crossed during his shift and at his immigration checkpoint. This May 24, he was finally sentenced and received a lenient sentence: just 21 months in prison.

The judge Diana Saldana it found Tolson’s actions to be extremely heinous and that he had abused the public’s trust while committing this crime as a federal agent.

Also in 2021, another agent of the Border Patrol was brought to trial. Jose Rosalio Fuentes.

In early 2018, Fuentes, then an officer of CBP assigned to the canine service at the Nogales Port of Entry, agreed with a foreigner to let him into the United States in exchange for a $6,000 cash bribe.

According to authorities, Fuentes knew the foreigner was a convicted felon, and offered to enter the United States through the port of entry during his shift. Surveillance footage shows Fuentes, on duty and in uniform, pretending to swipe the man’s ID at the port of entry.

The agent was sentenced to just 30 months in federal prison.

However, it is the case of Juan Carlos Guerrero, who has shown that being a border agent and smuggler can be a business worth thousands of dollars.

According to court documents, between October 2008 and May 2011, Guerrero worked the midnight shift at the ports of entry in Hidalgo, Pharr and Anzalduasat the Texas border, where he was responsible, among other things, for vehicle inspections of northbound traffic, for people traveling from Mexico to the United States.

According to his file, he, his girlfriend and even his nephews organized a bribery and foreign smuggling operation through which they received payments ranging between 500 and 3 thousand dollars per person.

Guerrero admitted that he organized and directed between 80 and 150 crossings, and that he allowed between 80 and 165 foreigners to enter the United States illegally during his shift.

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