Two federal agencies have teamed up to crack down on companies and businesses that have ties to migrant smuggling operations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday announced a partnership with the National Insurance Crime Bureau to prevent companies associated with smuggling migrants into the U.S. from securing insurance for their commercial enterprises.
In April, Homeland Security announced the start of Operation Sentinel, an effort to go after transnational criminal organizations linked to the smuggling of migrants. Now, it’s extending that operation through Joint Task Force Alpha to target businesses that are helping fund the smuggling efforts.
“It’s bringing the fight to the TCOs is exactly what we’re doing with this joint operation,” said CBP Deputy Chief Tony Barker.
CBP and NICB will prevent companies and businesses from securing insurance if investigations reveal those businesses are funneling money back and forth with organizations to pay for the smuggling of migrants.
“There are insurance companies that are insuring those carriers, and they should know those businesses are being funded through illicit proceeds,” Barker said.
According to the feds, this tactic will make it harder for those companies to take part in federal programs and eventually make it harder for them to stay in business. It’s a tactic that stems from following the money.
“They’re utilizing legitimate business practices in order to move that money around,” Barker said.
Barker said investigations have revealed migrants smuggled into the country have been forced to work at a certain location for a certain length of time until they are released.
Barker said the U.S. is currently working with the Mexican government to crack down on migrant smuggling.