Mexican cartels began offering VPN services to Mexican, South American, and Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States so that they can request appointments for this process without being at the border, as required by law.
These high-tech services circumvent the geolocation requirements of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Republican lawmakers revealed.
During an on-site hearing on the Arizona-Mexico border, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee warned that Mexican criminal organizations are profiting from the “bad immigration policies” of the Department of Homeland Security of the Biden administration and exacerbating the immigration crisis at the border.
“The cartels now sell VPN services to migrants, allowing them to pre-register for an asylum appointment in the United States and bypass the geolocation system, even before they arrive in northern Mexico. These continue to be pull factors or incentives to enter this country illegally,” said Arizona Republican Andy Biggs.
The legislator was referring to the use of the CBP One application, which identifies the location of migrants. If they are at the border with Mexico, they are allowed to request an appointment to present their refugee or asylum claim.
“The app hurts Americans by welcoming any migrant with a smartphone into the United States and helps cartels solicit more customers to make the perilous journey to our border. No wonder immigration numbers are on the rise again,” he added.
In addition, according to Biggs, among the 2.3 million migrant “encounters” in 2023, more than 140 suspected terrorists have been detained, an increase from the 98 detected and arrested in 2022.
The Oversight Committee hearing is the latest in a string of public hearings in Washington and other parts of the country organized by Republicans to attack President Joe Biden’s immigration policies in general and to place the incumbent of the DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, whom they want to impeach in Congress.
On their own, from Eagle Pass, Texas, the Democrats on the Committee, including Joaquín Castro, Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson-Lee, decided to boycott the Republican forum and visit the border area where the barbed wire buoys were placed in the river Bravo by Governor Greg Abbott and that they have been singled out in connection with several migrant deaths.
“Should Governor Abbott ignore his constituents and end this cruelty, the federal government must intervene with the full force of his authority. The Biden administration promised to return humanity to America’s asylum system. But what we have seen here in Eagle Pass today is the definition of inhumanity,” said Castro, the grandson of a Mexican woman.
Democrats called on Biden to end all cooperation with Texas, except that which protects the health and safety of asylum seekers, at least until ongoing investigations into human and civil rights violations are completed and the issue lawsuit filed can be resolved by the Department of Justice against the state of Texas for the installation of buoys in the federal area.