LOS EBANOS, Texas — Mexican smugglers are increasingly hiring American teenagers, often through social media platforms, as President Joe Biden’s border policies prove far less effective than his two immediate predecessors, said a Border Patrol veteran.
“They tend to recruit a lot of young people because they know young people will avoid prosecution. [when caught]it doesn’t matter if they have aliens or if they have narcotics as minors,” retired Border Patrol agent Michael Salinas told The Daily Signal in an interview.
They are “American children, American citizen children,” said Salinas, who spent three decades with the Border Patrol.
“Some of them that we have met in the past, people or young children who have just graduated [high school]”, Salinas said. “I guess they won’t go to college; they’ve been recruited, and now they’re either carrying loads of undocumented aliens or loads of narcotics.
The Daily Signal interviewed Salinas last week during a South Texas border tour sponsored by the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that promotes tough immigration enforcement.
Mexican cartels recruit young people to smuggle narcotics or people by going to where they are — on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok, Salinas said.
“They play a big role because that’s how it is [cartels] are doing their recruiting,” he said of social media, adding:
Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., all social media platforms are used to recruit these people. And it’s not always just the young kids, it’s just the people who want to make a quick buck, actually.
Salinas retired from Border Patrol in October 2021 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 57 with nearly 34 years there.
He saw officer morale take a hit after Biden took office in January 2021, Salinas said. Morale was higher under President Donald Trump’s pro-enforcement policies, he said.
“It’s changed a lot because most of the time, most agent interactions are within your reach at the start of the shift, and that’s it,” Salinas said. “After that, you’re pretty much caught up carrying, sitting down, getting these people ready for pick-up, making sure everyone is searched, separated by female, male, family unit, etc., to facilitate the return process. at the train station and then bring them to the treatment centers.
While differences between Biden and Trump can be expected on border security, Salinas said, Biden’s policies on illegal immigration have been worse than those of Barack Obama, whose vice Biden served. -president for eight years.
And that, he said, despite Obama’s controversial policies called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.
“I really don’t think Obama said, ‘Hey, come on. We are going to end it all,” Salinas told the Daily Signal. “I mean, he did it by decree, I believe, DACA and DAPA. It brought people. But when you say… in so many words, “The border is wide open, come on,” it was twice as bad.
“The Biden administration has certainly put the brakes on operations, as far as border security goes,” he added.
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