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How to Get Around the Wall on the Mexican Border

December 30, 2016
Plain English Version

usa_-_customs_and_border_protection11What do you do when you see a barrier meant to stop you? The simple answer is: pay the right person to get you around it. This is not a story about smugglers and coyotes. It is about the people you pay to get you across the border when you do not have papers. This story is about paying off rogue employees of the U.S. federal government. The correct word is “bribe.”

The phrase “follow the money” is at work here. The agency most in charge of the border is U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Undocumented people and illegal drugs flow into the U.S. They gain entry by bribing border agents. Only a tiny percent of agents take bribes. But they have a big effect on trafficking. And they have a big effect on the morale of the agency. The saying is, “one bad apple spoils the barrel.”

  • Crooked agents make it easy to smuggle in drugs.
  • Crooked agents sell green cards.
  • Crooked agents alert drug cartels to raids.
  • Crooked agents allow border crossers to enter the U.S.

An official noted that building a wall is not good enough. The integrity of the system is of most importance. It does not work when you have employee fraud and corruption.

When the border system works well, it reduces the traffic in people and drugs. It also has another effect. It increases the amount of the bribes crooks will pay agents to stay in business.

Here is an example. An agent was part of an undercover unit targeting cartels. Instead, he gave the cartels maps of hidden underground sensors. He gave them the combinations to locks along the border. He told them where Border Patrol traffic checkpoints were. The cartels were able to ship methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana into the country.

Agency heads are well aware of the problems. They are increasing internal investigations. They are making changes in the way they hire people. They know that building a wall is not a cure.

For some, a wall is not a barrier. It is an opportunity.

Source: The New York Times December 28, 2016

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