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EXCLUSIVE: An internal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) document from late last year warned of “significant safety implications” of ending the Title 42 public health order – while also noting that criminal organizations control “large swaths” of Central America.
The document, which emerged from a lawsuit between Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Biden administration, is an overview of the situation of the southwest border published in December.
In the document, it warns that primary factors drawing migrants to the border include economic opportunities, political instability, fear of violence and educational opportunities, as well as perceptions of U.S. immigration policy.
It notes that smuggling networks are “very active in promoting the flow of migrants through Mexico as drug trafficking organizations maintain control of the primary trafficking corridors into the United States.”
“The drug trafficking organizations’ control of these corridors allows them to regulate the flow of migrants as well as charge migrants a ‘tax’ or ‘piso’ for the right to pass through the corridors.”
The document also warns that “large swaths of the region exist where government control is limited or nonexistent due to transnational criminal organizations (TCO); notably the northern border regions of Guatemala, eastern Honduras and several rural regions across Mexico, some of which have created militias for self defense.”
The document also references the potential end of Title 42 — a public health order that has been used since March 2020 to rapidly expel a majority of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration is planning on lifting the order on May 23.
The administration has acknowledged that it will likely lead to a significant surge in migrants coming across the border, at even larger numbers than the already historic numbers being seen by authorities. But it has said it has a plan in place to deal with the flow, including a greater use of expedited removal and more resources.
The CBP document warns that there are risks with ending the order.
“If [CBP’s Office of Field Operations] is unable to continue to suspend the introduction of covered migrants to the United States pursuant to the CDC Order (Title 42) there are significant safety implications,” it says.
The document also says the pause by the Biden administration of a number of Trump-era policies, including “Remain-in-Mexico” and the asylum cooperative agreements — as well as Mexico’s limited acceptance of migrant returns — has hurt Border Patrol’s ability to expel illegal immigrants via Title 42.
The document also points to what Border Patrol is doing to gain “operational control” of the border, including by deploying resources to “detect, identify, classify, impede, and interdict prioritized threats to National Security, Border Security and Public Safety” — while also maintaining what it calls “safe, legal and orderly” migrant processing.
Moody, in a statement to Fox, called the document a “shocking discovery.”
It contradicts what the Biden administration has been telling the American people and shows that the Mexican drug cartels are profiting off the mass migration of unvetted immigrants to fund an increase in violence at the border,” she said.
“We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis and the deadliest drugs are being smuggled into our country from Mexico. President Biden knows this, yet he continues to double down on his terrible immigration policies knowing full-well these policies are emboldening and enriching the very drug cartels who are profiting off the deaths of thousands of Americans.”