The United States announced the creation of a task force against human smugglers in Mexico and Central America, the origin of most of the undocumented immigrants who have arrived in record numbers in recent months to the United States.
The "Joint Task Force Alpha" will pool resources from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security (DHS) to enhance U.S. law enforcement against human smuggling and trafficking groups active in Mexico and the Central American Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras), according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Together, we will combat these threats where they originate and operate, said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The task force will be comprised of federal prosecutors from Arizona, Southern California, and South and West Texas. Also participating will be law enforcement officers and analysts from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as the federal law enforcement agencies FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
We will take steps to identify smugglers and their associates to ensure we enhance border security, said DHS head Alejandro Mayorkas.
"Alpha" will work closely with "Operation Sentinel," launched in late April by DHS to combat transnational migrant smuggling networks. "Alpha" will also seek to increase investigations, drug trafficking prosecutions, and asset recovery related to corruption in the Northern Triangle by working with prosecutors in those countries. The Attorney General was also instructed to coordinate with the State Department to assist counterparts in the Northern Triangle to support efforts to prosecute smugglers in their courts.